Climate change is a major challenge for African countries, says Mauritius’s Minister Wong

Courtesy of Government Information Service, 

Climate change is a major challenge to our countries’ abilities to progress safely towards the Sustainable Development Goals as well as threatening the hard won development which we have achieved over the past decades. Climate change will be keeping us on our toes for many more decades. The gloomy predictions of our future make us shudder especially as we think of our future generation. This growing apprehension is particularly significant for the developing nations such as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and countries of the African continent.

The above statement was made by the Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reforms, and Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development, and Disaster and Beach Management, Mr Alain Wong, yesterday at the launching of the Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Africa – Recommendations to Policymakers booklet at Hennessy Park Hotel, Ebène.

The booklet, an initiative of the Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology, was developed with the collaboration of the German National Academy of Sciences- Leopoldina. The booklet intends to offer an integrated guide for effective policy responses on climate change adaptation, with focus on sectors such as water, agriculture and fisheries, and health, as well as coastal zones, on a continental scale.

According to the Minister, to guide environmental policies effectively, scientists and academia often face the difficult but crucial task of clearly communicating evidence-based information to the public and to policy makers. Frequently, the solutions proposed by scientists are hindered by a lack of communication including an excessive reliance on acronyms and scientific jargon which are not understood by policy and decision makers, he said, adding that this document will provide an ideal tool to bridge the gap between the scientists and policymakers by demystifying and simplifying climate change related issues by applying a down-to-earth and practical approach.

The climate change indicators for Mauritius are alarming too, said Mr Wong as he stressed that the impacts are already noticeable and are likely to worsen. He referred to the surface temperature which rose by up to 1.1oC as well as the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as flash floods. These facts can only consolidate our conviction that urgent and concrete actions are required with the collaboration of all partners namely government, the private sector, scientists, academics, NGOs as well as the civil society, he added.

This policymaker’s booklet focuses on why climate change adaptation and resilience is crucial for Africa and elaborates on how climate change impact can be addressed through targeted policy actions and interventions.

For the Minister, in facing the challenges of climate change, the priorities for African countries are to achieve high political recognition for Africa vulnerabilities on the platform of international negotiations; allocate and mobilise adequate resources; ensure food, energy and water securities; manage, adapt and optimally reduce long-term climate risk; and have recourse to innovation to pave the way for incredible opportunities.

These goals, he said, require good governance; access to technology; investment in innovation; the involvement and commitment of all segments of society. Moreover, Mr Wong advocated for an increasing regional and continental collaboration from regional entities such as SADC, COMESA, the African Union and other continental economic blocks.

“Instead of individual country efforts, the preferred option will be to move for common front at the regional level, for instance the Africa and SIDS stand. We should also make sure that funding provided through the Green Climate Fund and other channels are timely and sufficient, effective and accessible for the interest of African nations and SIDS” he underlined.

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