IGAD, FAO Raise Climate Change Concerns

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) say the Horn of Africa is under threat of worsening drought conditions, food insecurity and other impacts of climate change.

In a joint statement by the IGAD Executive Secretary, Workneh Gebeyehu, and the FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Chimimba David Phiri, the organisations called for a scale-up of contributions to existing and future humanitarian response plans (HRP) in the region.

The Horn of Africa has become increasingly vulnerable to global warming and climate change effects, researchers have reported.

‘Vulnerable communities in the IGAD region continue to experience a complex mix of re-enforcing shocks and stresses that are eroding their resilience to food and nutrition insecurity’, the joint statement read.

The statement also said, ‘Due to the threat of worsening drought conditions, food insecurity will likely rise during the first half of 2022 across the Horn of Africa. Urgent action is therefore required now to safeguard livelihoods, save lives, and prevent worsening malnutrition’.

For instance, Djibouti, according to the World Bank 2021 Climate Risk Country Profile for the country, is vulnerable to climate change and adverse impacts from increased temperatures, increased aridity, reduced precipitation, and rising sea levels.

Socio-economic and environmental implications of climate change is expected to affect water resources, agricultural and livestock, coastal zones, health, and tourism sectors in the small African country.

‘Moreover, as forecast by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC), the start of the current October–December 2021 rainy season has been significantly delayed, with little to no rainfall observed to date in many areas, raising the probability of another poor season’, the statement added.

‘Should this occur, agricultural and pastoral conditions will further deteriorate, causing households already struggling with the effects of multiple, concurrent hazards (climate variability, conflict, [Covid-19], and desert locusts) to employ negative coping strategies and reduce their food consumption.

‘This is a major source of concern as food insecurity in the region has historically increased sharply following consecutive poor rainfall seasons. For example, the 2011 famine in Somalia was preceded by two consecutive failed seasons while the 2017 drought emergency was the result of three to four below-average seasons’.

Data from the United Nations (UN) shows that Somalia is on the frontline of climate change and has experienced more than 30 climate-related hazards since 1990, including 12 droughts and 19 floods.

2.3 million people are already suffering with serious water, food and pasture shortages in Somalia with the UN warning that the rapidly worsening drought could lead to an extreme situation by April 2022.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) also described the country as highly vulnerable to the current and future impacts of climate change.

Data from the Climate Institute reveals that the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture places enormous pressure on the regions’ populace who are dependent on agriculture to provide livelihoods.

Eritrea is also particularly vulnerable to climate change effects, including severe drought spells.

The UNDP has noted that current adaptive capacity is low and the country has Africa’s highest level of food insecurity, accompanied by high levels of malnutrition.

Several reports also show that Eritrean farmers have been buffeted by climate change in a country where an estimated 80 percent of its population survive as subsistence farmers.

‘We must support farmers and herders who are experiencing the impacts of poor harvests, depleted food and animal feedstock, and rising food prices’, the organisations said.

Against the backdrop of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the African Development Bank (AfDB) launched its Climate Change and Green Growth Framework.

The framework is made up of a strategic policy, a long-term strategy covering 2021–2030 and a five-year action plan for 2021–2025.

AfDB said the climate change and green growth framework will enable it prioritise interventions, inform and guide the alignment of its future operations with the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement.

Photo source: International Federation of Red Cross


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here