By The Insight Post Uganda
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an India-based think tank, in collaboration with Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA-Kenya), has officially released the inaugural edition of the State of Africa’s Environment 2023 report.
The culmination of this comprehensive report was made possible through the collective efforts of over 100 journalists, researchers, and environmental experts from across the African continent, which played a vital role in its preparation.
The report aims to provide a holistic understanding of Africa’s environmental landscape, stressing the complex connections between environmental factors and sustainable development.
It further provides a comprehensive view of Africa’s environmental landscape, highlighting the intricate relationship between environmental well-being and sustainable development.
According to the authors, it serves as a valuable resource to guide policymakers, researchers, and environmental advocates in shaping the future of the African continent and addressing its pressing environmental challenges.
The launch event was graced by the presence of esteemed dignitaries, including Mamo Bor Mamo, Director General of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya, and Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE.
During the event, Mamo articulated the vital importance of the report, stating, “Issues raised in this report are important and pertinent to our environment in Africa. We have a collective responsibility to manage our environment well. The report will give us direction on the position we will take during COP28.”
Sunita Narain, the Director General of CSE, elaborated on the report’s significance, highlighting the broader perspective it offers, saying, “We can read and get the immediate story today, but often we do not get the big picture. The report will help us get that big picture.”
She adds, “It will enable us to understand the different aspects of the environment by putting together a comprehensive picture that clarifies the links between environment and development. Environment and development are two sides of the same coin.”
The editorial team behind this report assembled a diverse collection of insights from African nations, focusing on key areas such as climate change, wildlife and biodiversity, agriculture and land degradation, water resources, hygiene, and emerging waste management issues.
Major Highlights Of The Report
Environmental Well-being and Sustainable Development: The report emphasises the centrality of environmental well-being in Africa’s sustainable development.
Africa’s Natural Capital: Africa boasts a natural capital estimated at US $6.2 trillion in 2018, making it the richest continent in terms of resources, with an estimated worth of nearly three times the entire continent’s economy.
Per Capita Natural Capital Decline: Per capita natural capital in Africa has declined from US $4,374 in 1995 to US $2,877 in 2018, potentially leading to a 10 percent drop in GDP by 2030 and various environmental challenges by 2050.
Rapid Climate Change in Africa: Africa has experienced a disproportionate impact from rapid climate change, despite contributing little to global warming.
Biodiversity Conservation: Africa, hosting a quarter of the planet’s species, faces higher species extinction rates than the rest of the world, but it also showcases innovative conservation models that prioritise community involvement.
Food Security and Desertification: Africa, despite having significant arable land, imports about 85 percent of its food and grapples with desertification affecting 45 percent of the continent.
Air Pollution and Clean Energy: Air pollution claims 1.1 million lives annually, with developed economies contributing to the problem. Nevertheless, Africa is transitioning to renewable energy sources with vast untapped potential.
Health Challenges and Malaria: Progress in meeting health goals is evident, but climate change may increase the risk of malaria in certain regions.
Water Resources: Africa’s aquifers hold an immense 0.66 million KM3 of water, a crucial factor in defining global water security.
Waste Management: Sub-Saharan Africa faces a 300 per cent increase in waste generation by 2050, with only a fraction collected and managed properly.
In the last 15 years, numerous studies have consistently sounded the alarm about the exacerbation of regional, ethnic, and resource-driven conflicts due to the escalating impact of climate change and environmental stressors.
These conflicts have extended across various African nations, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho, as well as West Africa and the Sahel region. Additionally, there has been a noticeable surge in perilous migration patterns towards Europe via the Mediterranean, driven directly or indirectly by environmental changes and the resulting conflicts.
Although migration is influenced by multifaceted social, economic, political, and environmental factors, projections indicate that by the mid-century, over 200 million individuals could be compelled to leave Africa due to the challenging environmental realities. This staggering figure represents roughly 10 percent of Africa’s population during that period.