GENEVA – Weather and climate change is worsening food insecurity in Africa, as rising temperatures are melting its symbolic glaciers, according to a report by World Meteorological Organization (OMM).
WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said during the presentation of the report in this Swiss city.
The report says extreme events are contributing to the increase in poverty and human displacement in Africa, a situation that has been exacerbated since 2020 by the health, social and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Africa has warmed at a rate above the global average temperature over the entire land and ocean surface. The warming between 1991 and 2020 was higher than in 1961-1990 in all African sub-regions and well above the trend of 1931-1960.
Rates of sea level rise on the southern Atlantic and tropical coasts, and on the Indian Ocean coast, are above the global average.
Rainfall patterns have changed, with widespread flooding in the Sahel (the semi-arid strip separating desert from forest area), the Rift Valley (east), the Middle Nile Basin, and North-East Africa , the Kalahari basin (southwest) and the bottom reached. Congo River (center).
Dry conditions prevailed over the northern coast of the Gulf of Guinea (west) and northwestern Africa, as well as along the southeastern part of the continent. The drought on the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean has caused a humanitarian crisis.
“The rapid decline of the last glaciers in East Africa, which are expected to melt completely in the near future, warns of the danger of an imminent and irreversible change in the Earth system”: Petteri Taalas.
14 other countries reported significant loss of life or population displacement due to flooding in 2020: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Sudan of the South, Togo and Uganda.
Regarding glaciers, there are currently only three in the African mountains: the rocky mount Kenya in Kenya, the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda and Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the continent, in Tanzania.
They are too small to play an important role as water reservoirs, but they are of great tourist and scientific interest.
Current rates of decline are above the world average, and if this trend continues it will lead to a complete decline in the 1940s.
As for hunger, the combination of protracted conflicts, political instability, climate variability, pest epidemics and economic crises, exacerbated by the pandemic, have been the main drivers of food insecurity in Africa, according to the report. report.
In Africa, there are 282 million undernourished people, according to UN agencies, in sub-Saharan Africa, 22 percent of its population cannot meet their basic food needs, and entire communities are in dire straits. criticism in a dozen countries.
Another problem is displacement, with an estimated 1.2 million people displaced from areas where they once lived in Africa in 2020 due to drought and flooding, and nearly 500,000 due to armed conflict.
African Union Commission Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Leonel Correa Sako, said Africa “is experiencing increasing weather and climate variability, causing disasters and disruption to communities. economic, ecological and social systems ”.
Sacco noted that, “by 2030, it is estimated that up to 118 million people living in extreme poverty (i.e. living on less than $ 1.90 per day) will be at risk of drought, flooding and extreme heat in Africa, so an appropriate response measures are not enough. established.”
Taalas argued that in the face of critical expectations, Africa’s post-pandemic recovery makes improving climate resilience imperative and urgent.
“Investments are particularly needed in capacity development and technology transfer, as well as in improving countries’ early warning systems, including weather, water and climate monitoring systems,” Taalas said.
The costs of climate adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa are estimated at $ 30-50 billion per year (two to three percent of GDP) over the next decade, resources that “would be used to avoid additional relief costs. higher “. in the event of a disaster. According to the World Meteorological Organization.
The report was presented at an extraordinary meeting of the World Meteorological Conference and will serve as a contribution to the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be discussed in November in Glasgow, UK.
AE / HM