#Editorial

Climate Change Is an Increasing Threat to Africa!

Jun 18, 2021, 11:16 AM

Increasing temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and more extreme weather are threatening human health and safety, food and water security and socio-economic development in Africa, according to a new report devoted exclusively to the continent.

The State of the Climate in Africa 2019 report, a multi-agency publication coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), provides a snapshot of current and future climate trends and associated impacts on the economy and sensitive sectors like agriculture. It highlights lessons for climate action in Africa and identifies pathways for addressing critical gaps and challenges.

"This report shows increasing climate change threats for human health, food and water security and socio-economic development in Africa. Because of this, we need accurate and current data for adaptation planning," said Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary, UN Climate Change.

The UN Climate Change secretariat is supporting countries in identifying and managing climate risks through the formulation and implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).

Advancements in systematic observations and research that WMO is undertaking plays a key role in providing critical input to these efforts.

The report was released on 26 October at a ministerial-level launch to highlight the urgency of climate action in Africa and the current state of capacity. The risks are becoming more severe.

“Climate change is having a growing impact on the African continent, hitting the most vulnerable hardest, and contributing to food insecurity, population displacement and stress on water resources. In recent months we have seen devastating floods, an invasion of desert locusts and now face the looming spectre of drought because of a La Niña event. The human and economic toll has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

 “The limited uptake and use of climate information services in development planning and practice in Africa is due in part to the paucity of reliable and timely climate information.  This report, focusing on Africa, will go a long way towards addressing this gap. The contribution of the Economic Commission for Africa to the production of this report, through the African Climate Policy Centre, seeks to highlight the nexus between climate change and development, and to emphasise that building forward better from the Covid-19 pandemic requires a development approach that is green, sustainable and climate resilient, informed by the best available science. The participation of multiple institutions and agencies in producing the report reinforces our principles and approaches of working as one,” said H.E. Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

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