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Climate change accelerating conflicts in Africa

More than 800,000 people have been affected by floods in South Sudan that have caused displacements and food insecurity challenges increase conflicts between communities…reports Asian Lite News

The Horn of Africa has registered a rise in conflicts because of an increase in climate disasters, experts have said.

Linda Ogallo, a climate adaptation expert at the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), said on Friday that drought and floods are some of the climate events that have accelerated conflicts in the Horn of Africa.

“A big block of communities in the Horn of Africa are farmers who rely on agriculture and pastoralism. Therefore, their lives are tied to climate. Any negative event leads to disruption of livelihoods and displacement that push people to new areas leading to inter-community or cross-border conflicts,” said Ogallo during a virtual forum on climate change, peace and security.

She identified South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia as the countries where climate events are causing conflict.

She said South Sudan has endured the worst flooding in the past months while drought is ravaging Somalia and Kenya.

More than 800,000 people have been affected by floods in South Sudan that have caused displacements and food insecurity challenges increase conflicts between communities, according to the United Nations.

In Kenya, the movement of pastoralists in search of pasture in other areas due to drought has led to fights between communities, causing deaths.

“In Somalia, it started with drought, then desert locusts, then floods, followed by the pandemic, and now drought. It has been one extreme event after another that communities have had no chance to recover,” she said.

Ogallo said the frequent climate events are putting financial strain on African governments, which now have to use development money for emergency response activities.

She said IGAD is hoping to have a coordinated mechanism for dealing with security challenges arising from climate change.

Elizabeth Carabine, the climate security advisor at the Office of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Horn of Africa, said climate events force people to move, increasing competition for resources and leading to conflicts.

“People displaced by climate events are more prone to conflicts that lead to instabilities. Climate change has become a threat to peace and security, and that is a discussion African governments, African Union, and other regional bodies must be prepared to have and find solutions,” she said.

Demand for evidence-based talks on Africa

The rise in multiple extreme weather events in Africa calls for a coordinated approach for evidence-based negotiations at the COP27 in Egypt, a climate negotiator said.

George Wamukoya, the team leader of the African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES), said on Wednesday in a statement released in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, there has been a lack of coordination between African policymakers, scientists and negotiators to provide evidence on the effects of global warming on the continent.

“In all the positions that Africa takes, negotiators must do technical or background papers to generate evidence guiding that position,” Wamukoya, an experienced lead coordinator on agriculture said.

“Ahead of the climate change conference, we have convened pre-meetings where scientists and negotiators have discussed the agenda and identified areas that require evidence. These scientists have helped negotiators in packaging a common African position that is informed by science,” he added.

Guleid Artan, the Director of the IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), said Africa would at the meeting focus on getting adaptation funds from countries that have created the mess for the continent.

Africa is among the continents that have suffered the worst effects of the climate crisis, with countries like Nigeria and South Africa enduring floods as drought ravages the Horn of Africa.

The adverse impacts of the climate crisis have led to increased food insecurity, water scarcity, reduced crop yields and disruption of food systems have taken a toll on African households and the continent’s economic growth.

“Science tells us that Africa is the most vulnerable continent yet it has contributed the least in terms of emissions. Africa’s voice in the global climate negotiations, therefore, becomes critical,” Wamukoya added.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the cost of adapting to climate change shocks across Africa is estimated to rise to $50 billion by 2050 if the global temperature increase remains within 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

This is despite the continent accounting for less than four per cent of global emissions.

“Delivering a good outcome at COP27 for Africa is, therefore, an imperative. AGNES is ready to make a case for adaptation, doubling adaptation finance, creating greater prominence for loss and damage discussions, raising mitigation ambition, and institutionalising agriculture in the UNFCCC process. We must deliver on agriculture,” said Wamukoya.

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