World leaders have a disappointing record when it comes to crises that take decades to unfold. Much greater investment in the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s could have saved millions of lives and billions of dollars 20 years later, for instance. The western Sahel region of Africa lies between the Sahara Desert to the north and the Sudanian Savannah to the south. By 2050, the region’s population is expected to more than double, to 450 million, and temperatures there are expected to rise to about 3 °C above their 1950 level.
Already, hunger and malnutrition are widespread in the Sahel. As droughts and other weather extremes make it even harder for farmers to produce the crops and livestock needed to sustain the growing population, conflict and terrorism will increase. As conditions worsen, millions of people could die in famines, and there is likely to be unprecedented levels of migration, including to Europe. Our analyses of population projections and the probable impacts of climate change on food security in this ecologically vulnerable zone indicate that four steps are needed to head off these effects. We call on governments worldwide, together with those of seven countries spanning the Sahel (see ‘Defining the Sahel’), to invest in girls’ education; expand people’s access to family-planning information and services; increase agricultural production; and increase security using local police forces as well as national and international military services. Neglect just one of these actions, and political or economic systems could fail.
Read the full report HERE.
This report was first published in November 2019 by the OASIS Initiative.
Photo credit: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid/Flickr