Climate change is a decisive global challenge which, if not urgently managed, will put at risk not only the environment but also world economic prosperity, development and, more broadly, stability and security. Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by a number of non-climatic factors, including hunger, high prevalence of disease, widespread poverty, chronic conflicts, high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, low levels of development and low adaptive capacity.
This week, Heads of State will formally adopt a ‘New Urban Agenda’ in Quito, Ecuador. It will be the outcome document agreed upon at the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) that aims to set the narrative for development in human settlements for the next ten to 20 years.
Fresh water is an indispensable resource for human life and ecosystem health. A considerable amount of fresh water resources accessible for human use are shared between two or more countries. Around the world, there are 286 transboundary river basins, and 148 countries include territory within one or more of these basins. Contrary to expectations, internationally shared water resources have long acted as a source of cooperation rather than conflict between riparian states.
Large dams are major nation-building projects. They harness power to generate energy, provide water for large-scale irrigation and can help control flooding. And politicians often describe them as symbols of national power and technical prowess.
Approaches developed in Mali, Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania offer insights for building resilience in areas facing risks of climate change, disasters and conflict.
A paper published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tests the hypothesis that climate related natural disasters may be part of the cause of conflict in countries with high ethnic fractionalization.
Earlier this month, armed clashes between competing factions of South Sudan’s government broke out in the capital Juba, a day after the nation’s fifth anniversary of its independence. The conflict dates back to political events and factional fighting that first emerged in 2013.
While natural resource development can generate economic success, it can also increase the likelihood of conflict, particularly in Africa. Ongoing violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta is a good example of the so-called “resource curse” in action. In response, African governments continue to grapple with how best to use their resource endowments to foster both economic opportunity and peace. At a time of much soul-searching for the United Nations, there is a unique opportunity to put responsible and effective resource development at the heart of African peacebuilding. But how might local communities take greater ownership of these processes?
This briefing paper argues that in order to achieve the targets set out in the Malabo Declaration, which was adopted in 2014 with the aim to improve nutrition and food security across Africa, and to increase agricultural productivity by 2025 while building resilience to the effects of climate change, African governments must support programmes that will contribute to strengthening smallholder farmers’ resilience and improving their livelihoods.
Over the past decade, the number of undernourished people around the world has declined by around 167 million, to just under 800 million people. However, this positive trend glosses over a stark reality: Food insecurity is increasing in the world’s mountains. This pattern has been under-recognized by development experts and governments, a dangerous oversight with far-reaching social and environmental repercussions.