News / Africa

UN Says if No Action Taken, Global Warming Will Threaten Developing Countries

Cover of Human Development Report 2011
Cover of Human Development Report 2011
Kim Lewis

The United Nations says a lack of action on climate change and habitat destruction will threaten the progress of developing countries.

The issue was part of the 2011 report of the U.N. Development program (UNDP), entitled Sustainability and Equity: a Better Future for All.

The report argues that environmental sustainability is not just about focusing on the environment but encompasses a wide range of social issues. Among them are health, education, income, gender disparities and energy production, combined with protection of the ecosystem.

“Climate change, the destruction of forests, depleting resources, fisheries, the ocean, fresh water, declining quantity and quality of clean water supplies - all of those constellations of environmental factors are part of sustainability,” said William Orme, a UNDP spokesperson in New York.

In addition, said Orme, the UNDP looks at sustainability as part of society, and includes social, economic and political matters, all of which he said are connected.

While the report focuses on the world’s poorest countries, Orme said African countries as a group are most vulnerable to the effects of continuing climate and global warming.
“Droughts, intense rainfalls, cyclones, rising sea levels - all of these things conspire almost uniquely against sub-Saharan Africa,” explained Orme.

Orme said many positive things are happening in African countries and added Africa does have resources, such as great forestry resources, but even these are threatened.

“For instance, the Congo River Basin helps the entire planet by providing carbon dioxide, but those [resources] are also under threat because they are being cut both for firewood for people living in villages and also for the industrial taking of tropical hardwood for export,” said Orme.

He added that the culmination of these environmental factors mean sub-Saharan African countries are right at the center of this challenge.

However, he cautioned that not all African countries should be grouped together because they are at various stages of development and have different resources available to them.

The 2011 Human Development Report argues that if you invest in people’s health and schooling, the population will be a better keeper of its environmental resources over the long term.

“One concrete example: there is a proposal now backed by the U.N., which is discussed in the report, to provide electricity to the nearly 20% of the world’s population—1.4 billion people, approximately, who live off of the power grid. That is very true of rural sub-Saharan Africa,” said Orme.

Electricity is important for poor families because it allows children to study at night and families to cook basic meals without burning firewood inside the home.

“The fear is that this [providing electricity] would contribute to further global warming because more people would be connected to the power grid,” but that is not the case, said Orme.

“You can actually provide power to these people at reasonable cost using new technology, including solar, wind and more efficient use of fossil fuels, without significantly increasing carbon emissions,” he said.

The challenge, he said, is for governments and the international community to embrace and implement these changes.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid