Africa cries over climate change impacts


DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – African countries are pleading for financial support and other resources from developed countries to help in mitigating the impacts of climate change that is currently devastating this continent’s natural resources.

A forum that discussed Africa’s position on climate change and issues that would help to exercise fairness in dealing with the effects of climate change came up with a call to big nations to practice justice when dealing with climate change.

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The Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s sponsored a forum titled, “Climate Change and Climate Justice,” which was held in Tanzanian capital city of Dar es Salaam this week and attracted prominent personalities including former Irish President Dr. Mary Robinson and the former Botswana President Festus Mogae.

It has been observed that Africa is vulnerable to climate change evident from the receding glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro and other mountain peaks within the continent, lack of seasonal rains, the increase of malaria cases, poor agricultural production and serious lack of domestic water supplies.

Nobel Prize laureate Professor Pius Yanda from Tanzania said the effects of climate change to most African nations were not much observed by developed nations and that more efforts are needed to help vulnerable nations and the African continent to achieve their goals. He said climate change and “climate justice” was now a reality as its impact on the natural and social system in the African continent are experienced more than ever.

Permanent droughts, the effects of El Nino rains and deaths in masses of livestock and wildlife have all put Africa the most part of the world facing a great danger to fail in its social and economic development programs with deaths of people from hunger, natural disasters and malaria.

The impact of climate change in Africa is also seen with submerged islands because of a rise in the sea level, decreasing water levels in lakes and rivers apart from periodic occurrences of floods. Over two dozen people died in northern Tanzania last weekend from floods, while 10 other people died in Kenya from similar cause.

About a million Tanzanians are facing acute food shortage because of a severe drought, which has wiped out big parts of northern Tanzania. Similarly, four million people in Kenya are facing hunger.

Ministers from the five member states of the East African Community met in northern Tanzania’s tourist town of Arusha to lay down a common voice on climate change phenomenon associated with global warming and which has heavily impacted the area. They warned that climate change would pose serious effects to sustainable development of African continent with dire consequences on its economy.

Africa is the least contributor of carbon dioxide emission in the world, but suffers the worst consequences brought by the effects of climate change.

Sub-Saharan Africa account for 3.6 percent of the world emission of carbon dioxide although has 11 percent of global population.

Participants of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Climate Change Forum called on African leaders to come up with a common stand and a joint position and hammer the big nations during next month’s World Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The forum focused on the pressing challenges facing the African continent and which the Mo Ibrahim Foundation believes to constitute an urgent agenda – Climate Change and Climate Justice, Agriculture and Food Security and Regional Economic Integration.

Africa is the most vulnerable continent to effects of climate change as most of its communities depend on natural resources for livelihood, but also have low technology to address climate change effects.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, founded three years ago, is dedicated to bringing issues of governance to the heart of the debate around Africa’s development.

The Summit or COP15 Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is expected to chart out Post-Kyoto dispensation on climate change. There are reports that the USA and other big nations have downgraded the summit.