The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources has said that vulnerability to environmental change calls for integrated responses that reflect the multi–dimensional nature of the causes and states of vulnerability.
Ousman Sowe made this remark while addressing the 2016 World Water Week held in Stockholm, Sweden recently on the theme, ‘Water for Sustainable Growth’. It also marks the 20th Jubilee of Stockholm Junior Water Week Prize.
PS Sowe’s presentation at this global forum attempted to provide a comprehensive and integrated analysis of the issues of drought, food security, climate change and migration in Africa.
The region of Africa he said is faced with complex and severe humanitarian, environment, food security, drought and resilience challenges. He indicated that the Sahel region, stretching from the West Coast to the Lake Chad region and beyond, is fraught with all the challenges of peace, security and development, as is evident in the existing conflicts and migration from these areas.
The Permanent Secretary informed the gathering that in Africa drought is a common occurrence especially in the horn and Sahel regions, as it affects the four dimensions of food security – availability, stability, access and utilization.
“In addition to economic and natural resources losses, drought and degraded land cause migration and increased conflict over resources. Degradation of soil and vegetation resources are also largely a result of increasing population pressures, inequitable land access and tenure policies, poor land management, and widespread poverty,” he stated.
According to him, in Africa pastoralists are most affected by changes in rainfall in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Sahel influencing the availability of shrubs, grasses and water sources for livestock. Their traditional migration patterns, he posited, are increasingly changing and bringing pressure to bear on shared land resources between land tillers and cattle owners, thereby being sources of conflicts.
by Samba Jawo