Fostering Democratic Societies in Africa29 Mar 2012
Human security and environmental stewardship are two sides of the same coin. Africans, and especially the poor, depend on the region’s environment, biodiversity and ecosystems for basic necessities such as energy, food and shelter. Africa will be the continent hardest hit by climate change because it faces more severe climatic consequences than other regions – including extreme weather events, its economies rely on climate-dependent sectors such as agriculture and its adaptive capacities are limited.
Environmental and land degradation will constitute additional challenges. For instance, Africa accounts for over half of global deforestation, while experts warn that two thirds of arable land on the continent may be lost by 2025. The most vulnerable suffer a double burden: They are more affected by environmental degradation and less resilient towards its resulting threats such as unclean water, indoor air pollution from unhealthy cooking and poor sanitation.
Finding ways to make human development truly sustainable for a billion Africans and generations to come will be a central challenge for the region. Such a development path must safeguard ecosystems while also enabling economic and social progress.