In observance of Africa Week 2017, the African Union Permanent Observer Mission introduced the issue of climate change and its implications on migration, peace, and stability in Africa, seemingly in an effort to garner international support/funding.
The Moderator Mba stated that despite Africa’s minimal contribution to the issue of climate change, the continent remains extremely vulnerable to the environmental effects it causes. He claimed that these effects, such as desertification, flooding, and other natural disasters, threaten food stability and lead to forced migration, violent conflicts, and an increased presence of extremism in African nations. For this reason, he urged that climate change and Africa’s instability be seen as linked issues.
Many speakers cited the desertification and subsequent rise in migration and extremism in the Lake Chad region as an example of this climate change-migration nexus. Mr. Jason Lamin, a representative of the private sector, suggested that Africa’s weak infrastructure exacerbates the issue, and that investment in Africa would greatly improve the situation. Ms. Vera Songwe’s remarks echoed those of Mr. Lamin, claiming that while Africa has the resources to be a sound investment for the world, political advocacy must be done to secure these investments.
Others, such as Ms. Carla Mucavi, favored a home-grown solution, suggesting an inclusive rural transformation that would create jobs, strengthen food security, and reduce rural poverty. In light of the focus on migration, Mr. Ashraf El Nour noted that migration has been historically positive for Africa, but that the forced nature of the migration caused by climate change is what leads to regional conflicts. All speakers seemed to agree on the urgency of this issue, and the responsibility of organizations such as the UN to come up with a sustainable solution.
Meeting: High-level event on — “Addressing the Climate Change-Migration Nexus and its Implications for Peace and Security in Africa”
Date/Location: Thursday, October 19, 2017; 10:00-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
- H.E. Mr. Anatolio Ndong Mba, Moderator, Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United States;
- H.E. Ms. Liberata Mulamula, Visiting Scholar and Acting Director of the Institute for African Studies at the George Washington University
- H.E. Prof. Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, African Union Commission H.E. Prof. Fatma Zohra Karadja, Member, African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons
- Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
- Mr. Ashraf El Nour, New York Liaison Office Director, Food and Agriculture Organization for Migration
- Ms. Carla Mucavi, New York Liaison Office Director, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Mr. Jason Lamin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lenox Park Solutions
- Mr. Jamil Ahmad, New York Liaison Office Deputy Director, United Nations Environment Programme
- Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Written By: WIT Representative Andrea Estrella