Climate change set to ‘increase hunger’ in Africa: UN

As COP27 delegates in Egypt discuss global warming emissions, the climate crisis is fueling devastating hunger in several African nations and will worsen without urgent action, the UN said on Wednesday.

“If drastic action is not taken, hunger will increase as climate change is felt everywhere, especially in vulnerable areas like Sudan,” said Zitouni Ould-Dada, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Sudan is among East African nations facing “acute food insecurity”, the Famine Relief Network warned earlier this month, noting the dire situation, particularly in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

As the COP27 summit began, a joint statement from over a dozen UN agencies and major charities warned that the Horn of Africa was gripped by the “longest and most severe drought in recent memory”, warning that parts of Somalia were “forecast for famine”. . .

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Africa is home to some of the countries that are the least responsible for carbon emissions but are the most affected by extreme weather events.

Sudan, like many other countries on the continent, has been hit by erratic weather patterns in recent years – severe drought and heat followed by torrential rain.

About a third of the population, more than 15 million people, will need aid next year, the highest in more than a decade, according to the World Food Program (WFP).

– “Takes political will” –

The climate conference in Egypt, dubbed the “African COP”, must be where the continent’s food security is discussed, said Ould-Dada, Deputy Director of the FAO’s Climate and Environment Division.

But despite the continent’s vast resources, many nations depend on importing food, Ould-Dada added.

“It does not make sense for Africa to import 40 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine when it itself is so rich in resources,” he said on the sidelines of climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on the Red Sea.

“Political will is needed to fight poverty and hunger on a global scale.

FAO recently approved a $10 million project with Sudan’s forestry authorities to help farmers, including by protecting important gum arabic trees – a key ingredient for soft drinks – to combat rapid desertification.

Sudan is already grappling with what experts and activists say is the result of a changing climate: worsening conflict over scarce land and water resources.

Although linking global warming to conflict is complicated, the International Crisis Group calls climate change a “threat multiplier” that increases “food insecurity, water scarcity and resource competition, while disrupting livelihoods and stimulating migration.”

Sudan is the fifth most vulnerable country in the world to the effects of climate change, according to the 2020 ranking in the Global Adaptation Index, compiled by the University of Notre Dame in the United States.

Growing demands on dwindling natural resources have fueled inter-ethnic conflict in Sudan, including the 2003 war that erupted in drought-stricken western Darfur.

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Although a peace deal for Darfur was signed in 2020 with the main rebel groups, violence continues.

With agriculture and livestock accounting for 43 percent of employment and 30 percent of GDP, conflicts over livestock and access to water and land continue.

According to the UN, 800 people have been killed this year and more than 260,000 displaced in the conflict across Sudan.

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