Experts seek solution pathways to climate-induced migration in Africa
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19 October 2016
Author :   Elias Ntungwe Ngalame
Residents flee their homes due to floods

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - Climate-induced migration has continued to swell in Africa in spite multiple efforts by different governments in the continent to find lasting solutions to the crisis. Development experts at a panel discussion in the CCDA-VI conference in Addis Ababa on October 19, 2016 pointed out that pledges made by different countries to tackle climate change challenges need to be accompanied by more concrete and collective measures.

According to the experts over 190 countries at the climate talks in Lima in 2014 and Paris in 2015 pledged to reach a more concrete agreement, with specific goals and responsibilities, aimed at mitigating the impact of climate change and adapting to its consequences. A number of countries also pledged that during the period between the two conferences they would examine the links between climate change and human migration and displacement and implement solution driven measures.

Looking at the linkages between climate change and migration, panelists noted that climate-induced migration is a global problem that is likely to worsen in the future if not tackled head-on. Global problems thus require global solutions, they said.

“Climate-induced migration is a problem too vast for any one country to handle on its own. It requires a global approach and collective action,” says Prof. Araya Asfaw of the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center in Ethopia.

The different panelists urged development actors to avoid the blame game and come up with development projects especially in the areas of agriculture to curb growing migration.

 According to experts, developing countries blame high-income nations for their migration problems. They argue that developed countries which have caused most of the emissions driving climate change, should compensate those countries that have not burned as much carbon and yet are victims of this global problem.

“These ecological justice issues will no doubt take time to sort through. But in the main time countries should accelerate and harness agriculture for food, health, employment to bring dramatic changes in the fight against poverty and climate change in many countries especially in Africa,” says Adama Ekberg Coulibaly of ECA Ethiopia.

 The world needs to take collective action to mitigate and slow down climate change. But for this to happen there is need for a significant change in the way people and societies, in both industrialized and developing nations, lead their lives, the experts said.

 In the context of migration, nations were urged to focus on the rights and lives of the migrants rather than on restricting movement as they implement actions to solve the problem.

“Migration will always occur whether it is legal or not. After all, people may very well have no other choice but to leave their homes. But projects that focuses on improving the rights and lives of the communities will bring significant change to the problems,” says Ibrahim Ceesay of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change in The Gambia.

 The CCDA-VI forum according to organizers, is geared at understand the implementation implications, nuances, challenges and opportunities of the Paris Agreement for Africa in the context of the continent’s development priorities.

The forum accordingly is tailored to facilitate science-policy dialogue and provide a marketplace for innovative solutions that integrates climate change into development processes.

“It is important to engage and embrace the Paris Climate Agreement within the framework of Africa’s development aspirations as underscored in Agenda 2063 that embodies the vision of the ‘Africa we want’ and Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development that set global targets with a vision of ‘leaving no one behind,’ noted a 17 October 2016 press release from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA.

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