Past, present and future perspectives


Box 3.23 Impacts of climate change

Climate change-induced famine may result in more than 50 million environmental refugees in Africa alone by 2060. Globally, sea level rise and agricultural disruption will not be the only causes of human migration. Severe water problems may affect three billion people globally by 2015, and this would encourage mass migrations. Deforestation, soil erosion and desertification may also lead to large movements of people.

Source:Myers 1993
Environmental change is making people in Africa more vulnerable, with the increase in exposure to risk and inadequate coping capabilities. Many factors impact exposure to risk and coping capabilities, and they have social, economic and environmental dimensions. Poor economic performance, and weak institutional and legal frameworks, as well as overexploitation and other processes, contribute to increased human vulnerability. With models suggesting that human vulnerability is set to get worse in the future (see Box 3.23), the region has to adopt strategic measures to mitigate such vulnerability and to improve human security.

The likely impacts of increasing human vulnerability in the region over the coming decades include:

Policy makers cannot afford to ignore the need to improve environmental management if the human vulnerability/environmental change circle is to be broken. Sustainable development means taking into account social, economic and environmental issues at the same time, not one at a time.