News / Africa

    Africa Developing Unified Climate Strategy

    In this  April 30, 2012 photo, people walk past a dry seasonal riverbed in the Matam region of northeastern Senegal. Since late 2011, aid groups had warned that devastating drought again weakened communities where children already live perilously close to
    In this April 30, 2012 photo, people walk past a dry seasonal riverbed in the Matam region of northeastern Senegal. Since late 2011, aid groups had warned that devastating drought again weakened communities where children already live perilously close to

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Listen to De Capua report on Africa and climate change

    Joe DeCapua
    While an international agreement on climate change remains elusive, African nations are moving closer to a unified strategy. Africa has experienced more extreme weather events in recent years as global temperatures rise.
     
    Listen to De Capua report on Africa and climate change
    Listen to De Capua report on Africa and climate changei
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    Dr. Joseph Mukabana said the continent is on the front lines of climate change. He said that has led to a draft version of – what’s called -- The Implementation Plan of the Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology.
     
    “Africa is the most vulnerable continent when it comes to climate change. Out of the 48 least developed countries, 33 are in Africa. So, the priority in Africa is to adapt on climate change. You either adapt or die,” he said.
     
    Mukabana --director of the regional office for Africa and Least Developed Countries of the World Meteorological Organization – said that climate events far from Africa are having an effect on the continent.
     
    “Ice in the polar regions are melting so the sea rises up and the small islands, of course, are in danger of submerging – and also the low lying coastal zones are having problems. So, it’s estimated sometime between 25 and 50 years [from now] the low lying coastal zones may be submerged – and the inundation will cover areas that are now inhabited.”
     
    It’s imperative, he said, to protect Africa’s coastlines.
     
    “The land degradation at coastal zones also ensures that the coastal zone habitat is interfered with. For example, in some areas you have mangrove forests being cut and yet mangrove forests were very good in conserving the environment at the coast. You have also the coral reefs being eroded. And yet the coral reef, if it is big enough, can form the first defense when the tsunamis come, for example. So we are destroying the coastal zone and that will impact on human beings also,” he said.
     
    While rising seas pose one climate change-related problem, lack of rain in some regions poses another – frequent droughts.
     
    “We depend mostly on seasonal rains, which farmers use to plant food crops. And so [with] the droughts, now you don’t have food; you have famine. You have malnutrition. The pastures are not there, so you have communities quarreling over the pastures. Essentially, in countries you have sometimes internal displacement because of drought. People looking for food, animals looking for pasture,” said Mukabana.
     
    And ancient sources of fresh water may have little to offer today.
    “The glaciers on mountains, like Mt. Kilimanjaro, are also disappearing very fast. And the rivers that were there, which were perennial, are now drying up,” he said.
     
    While some areas are drying up, others can get too wet from much heavier than normal rains.
     
    “So you have flood episodes, which are more frequent. And with the floods, of course, there is a destruction of life and also destruction of infrastructure, which happens very fast. So the economies are impacted that way,” said Mukabana.
     
    To address the threat of climate change in Africa, the World Meteorological Organization and the African Union Commission called a meeting in Nairobi in 2010. Nearly 50 ministers from across the continent attended.
     
    The meeting led to the Nairobi Declaration. The document noted the “increasing risks and threats to sustainable development associated with disasters.” It went on to say that 90-percent of those disasters were “due to or aggravated by meteorological or hydrological extreme events.” The Nairobi Declaration also “recognized that weather and climate information, services and products are of key importance for supporting climate-sensitive social and economic development centers.”
     
    Mukabana said another product of the 2010 meeting was the creation of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology or AMCOMET.
     
    “AMCOMET was formed to be a high-level mechanism for development of meteorology and its application in Africa. So the ministers also demanded that an integrated African strategy on meteorology should be developed. And that was developed,” he said.
     
    That strategy is a mix of modern technology and scientific data and traditional knowledge, such as which crops are resistant to drought.
     
    From May 26th through the 30th, some AMCOMET officials meet in Harare. They’ll consider the draft strategy and set an agenda for a full meeting of the conference in October. Ministers say the goal is to develop a “transformational approach…to introduce innovative adaptation measures that build the resilience of communities” to climate change.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora