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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid