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Friday, January 13, 2012

Climate trends already impacting Sahel, West Africa - UNEP, 3 others

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations University (OCHA-UNU) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control (PICDC) in the Sahel have raised an alarm that changes in climate trends are already impacting in Sahel and West Africa.

They also calls for major investments in climate change adaptation to reduce the risk of conflict and forced migration.

The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south. It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. 

According to Wikipedia Online, a free online encyclopedia, the Sahel covers parts of the territory from the west to east; Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Algeria, Niger, northern Nigeria, Chad, Sudan including Darfur and the southern part of Sudan, as well as the northern Ethiopia and Eritrea.

While the West Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent, which has been geopolitically definite by the United Nations (UN) to include 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square kilometers.

The report, entitled Livelihood Security: Climate Change, Migration and Conflict in the Sahel, uses an innovative mapping process to identify 19 "climate hotspots" where climatic changes have been the most severe and which warrant focused adaptation planning and other follow-up activities.

A joint press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet endorsed by the UNEP spokesperson and Head, Media, Mr. Nick Nuttall, the Communications Advisor, Ms Julie Marks, CILSS Press Office represented by Harouna Kindo, Alice Fiser of UN University Head of Communication and Simone Dürr, Z_GIS Press and Communications , showed that the new evidence of changing climate trends in the Sahel and West Africa and their potentially profound implications for food security and regional stability were released recently at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, adding to the pressure on governments to stay on a course to reach a new international climate agreement.
The joint study, they said has analyzed regional trends in temperature, rainfall, droughts and flooding over the past 40 years and their implications for the availability of natural resources, livelihoods, migration and conflict in 17 West African countries from the Atlantic coast to Chad.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that the analysis detects significant changes in regional climatic conditions, including an overall rise in mean seasonal temperature from 1970 to 2006 of approximately 1°C, with a greater increase of between 1.5°C to 2°C observed in far eastern Chad and northern Mali and Mauritania.
The study shows that the frequency of floods and the area covered by flooding have increased in parts of the region over the past 24 years, citing an instance with large areas of southern Burkina Faso, western Niger and northern Nigeria where it was reported to have experienced up to 10 floods during this period.

Therefore, the study called for major investments in climate change adaptation to reduce the risk of conflict and forced migration before it becomes too late.

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