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Localizing sustainable development solutions to curb the effects of climate change in Africa

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Localizing sustainable development solutions to curb the effects of climate change in Africa

When it comes to climate change and its impacts, Africa is the continent that is most vulnerable despite contributing the least to the earth’s environmental change.

And for a continent that has underlying governance, geographical, social, infrastructural, and economic challenges, it is the least equipped to cope with these devastating effects.

Already, climate change is exposing the continent to challenges such as land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and other climate-related vulnerabilities.

This will have far-reaching effects in Africa since agriculture accounts for the primary share of its economic activities and a majority of its people make their livelihood from the land, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

That, coupled with the underlying issues threatening its adaptive capacity, spells a far greater challenge as it will not only weaken the continent’s environmental health in both rural and urban settings but also its economy and social fabric, thereby increasing poverty and limiting development.

For the fact that Africa’s urban areas are growing rapidly, there is every tendency that they will encounter several impacts of climate change as the infrastructures in these urban areas in Africa are ill-equipped to deal with the effects of climate change.

There just isn’t adequate and efficient infrastructure and concrete plan to maintain basic services, create an environment that is resilient against future climate-related issues, and promote biodiversity, food security, health, water access, and migration.

Already, the refugee crisis on the continent due to the displacement of people as climate change intensifies, is causing people to flee to safer zones. Some of these people, who are mostly Africa’s urban poor and live in high-risk zones, are ill-equipped to adapt and less able to move in the event of natural disasters.

The general climate plan course on the continent is not underpinned by sustainability and in most countries, climate change has not been prominently featured in their development programs. Only a few national development projects have a climate change focus from the initial planning stage.

How can the continent combat these climate change-induced threats of climate change and sustainability and not factored into the development and execution stages of their programs?

To combat these threats, localized sustainable development needs to be adopted and this requires some policy intervention. African countries must prioritize local input at the forefront of policy discussion and implementation, and integrate more local perspectives into the policymaking process as it will result in more resilient climate policies.

Africans must be participants in discussions on how to best deal with these challenges and ensure collaborative efforts are driven to tackle climate change while leveraging as well as integrating indigenous knowledge into Africa’s governance, economic, agricultural, and scientific systems.

When that is combined with policies that promote and enforce transition to low carbon energy, reduction in carbon emissions, implementation of sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, and substantial transformation of industrial, urban, and agricultural systems, Africa will surely be on a course to greater development that is hinged on true resilience.

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