Without urgent investment in climate mitigation and adaptation, countries in the Sahel risk decades of armed conflict and displacement exacerbated by rising temperatures, resource scarcity and food insecurity, the UN Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. .
According to a report released today, “Moving from Reaction to Action: Anticipating Hotspots of Vulnerability in the Sahel”, if left unchecked, the climate emergency will put Sahelian communities at greater risk, as flooding , devastating droughts and heat waves are decimating access to water, food and livelihoods. , and amplify the risk of conflict. This will ultimately force more people to flee their homes.
“In the Sahel, the climate crisis combines with growing instability and low levels of development investment to create a crippling mix that is taxing Sahelian communities heavily, with the added risk of jeopardizing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said said the UN. Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel Abdoulaye Mar Dieye. “There are solutions that focus on the agency of people and large-scale investments, but they require strong commitment and dedication from everyone, and the right data and analytics to know what’s coming in order to to execute proactive and impactful policy responses.”
The report examines the 10 countries covered by the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and its support plan in West and Central Africa – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
Communities in the Sahel depend on agriculture and pastoralism, which are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Food insecurity is already increasing across the region, reaching emergency levels in some areas. In the long term, maize, millet and sorghum yields are expected to decline due to climatic shocks, weakening the resilience of local populations.
“Rising temperatures and extreme weather in the Sahel are aggravating armed conflict, which is already destroying livelihoods, disrupting food security and driving displacement,” said Andrew Harper, UNHCR’s Special Adviser on Climate Action. “Only a massive push in collective climate mitigation and adaptation can mitigate current and future humanitarian consequences.”
Even with ambitious climate change mitigation policies, temperatures in the Sahel are expected to rise by 2.5°C by 2080. If urgent action is further delayed, they could rise by 4.3°C.
Despite the negative trends, the Sahel is endowed with abundant natural resources.
The region sits on one of the largest aquifers in Africa and has immense renewable energy potential, including abundant solar power capacity and a vibrant young population – around 64% of Sahelians are under 25 years old.
If bold climate mitigation and adaptation actions are imminent to support Sahelian countries and communities, and if collaboration across the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding pillars is prioritized, there is a vast potential to change the trajectory of the region.
**For more information on this topic, please contact:**
- In Geneva, Boris Cheshirkov, [email protected], +41 79 433 76 82
- In New York, Kathryn Mahoney, [email protected], +1 347 574 6552
For the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel:
- In Dakar, Nwanneakolam Vwede-Obahor, [email protected], +221774507379
**About the Sahel Predictive Analytics project**
The Sahel Predictive Analytics project, on which the report is based, aims to guide decision-makers by anticipating and quickly identifying points of overlap of several risks in order to enable better preparedness and to support context analysis, planning, training and capacity building, indicating where additional data is needed.
The predictive analytics initiative is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and facilitated by UNHCR in support of the office of the UN Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel. It was pioneered by the High-Level Committee on Programs (HLCP) and subsequently by the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) as the first UN system-wide approach that combines machine learning, modeling predictive and strategic foresight to identify risk hotspots. in the Sahel.
The report compiles short, medium and long-term forecasts from a range of data sources and methodologies provided by a consortium of 19 world-renowned organizations that track the interaction and feedback loops of climate change, food security, conflict, migration and displacement. These organizations are: adelphi, the Climate Hazards Center (CHC) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB), the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University (CIESIN) , Colorado State University (CSU ), Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR) of the City University of New York (CUNY), Danish Refugee Council (DRC), German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), European Center for Development Policy Management ( ECDPM), Institute for Demographic Training and Research (IFORD), Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Prediction-Visualisation-Early Warning team (PREVIEW) at the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), United Nations University Center for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), University of Kassel, the Violence Early-Warning System (ViEWS) project at Uppsa the University, Walker Institute at the University of Reading and the West African Science Service Center for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use (WASCAL).