Climate Change

16 Sep 2022

Changing Weather Patterns Aggravate Conflict and Displacement in Africa

16 Sep 2022  by   

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The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has stated that climate change in Africa could destabilise countries and entire regions based on findings in their State of the Climate in Africa 2021 report.

The State of the Climate in Africa 2021 reveals that rainfall patterns are disrupted, glaciers are disappearing and key lakes are shrinking. Rising water demand, combined with limited and unpredictable supplies, threatens to aggravate conflict and displacement.

“The worsening crisis and looming famine in the drought-stricken horn of Africa shows how climate change can exacerbate water shocks, threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilising communities, countries and entire regions,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

Temperature trends in Africa’s climate

The report shows how extreme weather and climate change are undermining human health and safety, food and water security and socio-economic development.

While Africa accounts for only about 2 to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it suffers disproportionately from the effects.

With a special focus on water, The State of the Climate reveals that high water stress is estimated to affect about 250 million people on the continent and displace up to 700 million individuals by 2030. Four out of five African countries are unlikely to have sustainably managed water resources by 2030.

“Africa’s climate has warmed more than the global average since pre-industrial time,” warned Taalas, noting that the sea level rise along African coastlines is faster than the global mean. He observed that that this is contributing to increases in the frequency and severity of coastal flooding and erosion, and salinity in low-lying cities.

“Changes in continental water bodies have major impacts on the agriculture sector, ecosystems, biodiversity,” said the WMO chief.

WMO recommendations to start making necessary changes

Currently only 40% of the African population has access to early warning systems against extreme weather and climate change impacts. The WMO is spearheading a campaign to ensure universal access to early warnings in the next five years – a request initiated by UN Secretary General António Guterres.

More than 40 African states have revised their national climate plans to make them more ambitious and add greater commitments to climate adaptation and mitigation.

The State of the Climate report makes a number of recommendations, including to strengthen early warning systems, increase transboundary cooperation, data exchange and knowledge sharing.

It underscores that the need for more investment in adaptation is crucial, as is a concerted drive towards more integrated water resource management.

The report was launched with an accompanying digital story map at a ministerial meeting on Integrated Early Warning and Early Action System initiative in Maputo, Mozambique.


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