Africa Needs to Prepare Better for Climate Change – WMO Report
Geneva- Africa needs to prepare better for climate change by responding to a wide range of potential risks, a multi-agency report led by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday.
“The State of the Climate in Africa 2019” report 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.
“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,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.
Africa has been warming progressively since the start of the last century, and in the next five years, northern and southern Africa are set to get drier and hotter, while the Sahel region of Western Africa will get wetter, WMO’s Regional Strategic Office Director, Filipe Lucio, told a press conference.
“Overall, Africa needs to take action. Action is needed today in terms of adaptation, but also is needed tomorrow in terms of mitigation,” Lucio said.
Northern and southern areas under threat of aridity and desertification would benefit from reforestation, which helps to prevent water runoff and creates vegetation which supports the hydrological cycle.
Policy changes are also recommended in transport, energy, infrastructure and industry. Financing has improved with the establishment of a UN-backed Green Climate Fund but there are still limitations in terms of the continent’s ability to tap into such funds, according to WMO.
Climate change has contributed to a jump in food insecurity, mosquito-borne disease and mass displacement in the past decade, and the rise in sea levels has led to unusual weather patterns such as Tropical Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in 2019.