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

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

    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.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.