Hosted by The Royal African Society, Africa Confidential, and International Crisis Group
September 14, 2021 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. EST
AEP Board member Elaine Chagnon attended the Zoom presentation of a global discussion centered around the effects of climate change in Africa and the resulting effects of conflict felt throughout the continent. Hundreds of attendees from around the globe were able to connect and hear a variety of international speakers discuss critical climate issues and the impact felt in different regions of Africa.
The speakers highlighted the need for the voice of Africa to be front and center in global policy-making related to climate issues. The three main climate regions of Africa- the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and southern Africa- all have challenges related to more frequent and more extreme climate changes. These challenges include (but are not limited to) encroaching desert, lack of accessible drinking water, and changing rainfall that disrupts crop yield and fish population. Combined with the fragile nature of economies and security in many African countries, existing issues have been exacerbated: disputes over land use among farmers and herders, lack of food due to ineffective farming techniques, and exploitation of empoverished citizens by Jihadi and terrorist groups. The answer to conflict is almost always force through military or police action.
One of the keynote speakers was Nigerian Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo. He spoke specifically about the deforestation of Nigeria caused by the need for cooking fuel. His plan is to promote the use of bridge fuels (liquified petroleum gas) such as propane to replace wood and coal fires. A statement that more people in Nigeria die from disease caused by air pollution was eye-opening.
Other notable speakers included Ghana’s Minister of the Environment, World Bank’s Chief Economist from Cameroon, the United Nation’s Economic Commissioner for Africa, the Head of Conflict Resolution from Burundi, and many others.
Participants were able to type in their questions and have them answered. All feedback from participants will be considered as these leaders prepare for COP 26- the United Nations Conference on Climate Change to be held in Glasgow at the end of October.