Libmonster ID: U.S.-1388

Keywords: Africa, climate, Paris Conference, Great Green Wall

An inter-institute round table on "Global climate change: implications for the Socio-economic development of African countries"was held at the Center for Sociological and Political Studies of the Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The following topics were suggested for discussion:

- agricultural production and food security;

- water scarcity and threats to water security;

- rising sea levels and increasing frequency of climate disasters;

- increasing the power of tropical hurricanes, ecosystems and biodiversity;

- destruction of historically established traditional systems of socio-economic and cultural environment and human behavioral patterns;

- human health;

- international cooperation in addressing climate change.

V. I. Gusarov, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, who chaired the discussion, opened the session with an introductory statement "The UN Climate Conference and the place of African countries in its documents". In particular, he noted that the Paris Climate Change conference was held from November 30 to December 12, 2015. It was the 21st conference held under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 11th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The goal of the conference is to sign an agreement to support an increase in the average global temperature below 2°C applicable to all countries.

One of the main achievements of the conference: for the first time, all UN members - 193 countries-took part in it. Commitments to reduce emissions were developed independently by participants, taking into account existing conditions and future prospects. Instead of the previously agreed 2°C, the task was set to prevent the temperature from rising above 1.5°C1.

V. I. Gusarov emphasized that much attention was paid to African issues, in particular, projects in the field of environmental rehabilitation, as well as sustainable agricultural development. The second day of the conference opened under the sign of Africa. The debate focused on four key topics: ensuring access to renewable energy; developing the economic potential of the Niger River basin; unlocking the potential of the Lake Chad region; and the Great Green Wall project. The project, which involves 11 African States, aims to create a 15 km wide and 7,775 km long strip of woody vegetation from Senegal to Djibouti.

Leaders of more than two dozen countries and representatives of international organizations participated in debates on environmental issues in Africa. The envoys of African countries stressed that they fully share the desire of the leading Powers to limit harmful emissions and develop alternative energy sources. At the same time, they pointed out, many catching-up countries are already thinking that the path of development that eventually led to the current environmental problems is decidedly not suitable for them.

One of the most discussed issues was the issue of financing-mainly projects to reduce emissions. The debate on extending the commitments of developed countries to finance projects in developing countries in Africa and other continents was particularly acute. In particular, it was discussed that once-

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twisted countries should collect $100 billion each. per year, starting in 2020, to combat climate change2.

On April 22, 2016, the Paris Agreement on Combating Global Climate Change was signed at the UN headquarters in New York in the presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. On behalf of Russia, the agreement was signed by Deputy Prime Minister A. Khloponin 3. 175 countries have joined the document, which is a record in the history of international relations.

The participants of the round table discussed global and continental issues, as well as regional, sectoral and country-specific issues related to the topic under discussion.

E. M. Morozenskaya, Ph. D. in Economics (IAfr), devoted her speech to the first category of problems. In particular, it noted that among the three global processes of degradation of renewable natural resources - forest destruction, soil erosion and desertification - deforestation is the primary one. It is a consequence of excessive slash-and-burn farming, extensive sedentary farming, grazing, timber harvesting, hydraulic engineering, road and industrial construction, clearing of forest areas for animal husbandry, and environmentally "dirty" industrial production. According to various estimates, the average annual loss of natural forests in 37 African countries was 3.7 million hectares in the early 1980s, and 17 million hectares by the early 1990s. Between 1990 and 2012, the largest reduction in tree-covered areas in the world was recorded in Africa: from the 1st place in the world to the first place in the world. Togo ranks first in the world in this indicator (61% reduction in forests) to Botswana (30th place, 19% reduction). In total, this list includes 16 countries on the continent, including 7 West African ones.

In his speech on global issues, political scientist V. R. Filippov (IAfr) noted, in particular, that the myth of global warming makes it possible for multinational corporations to take control of the extraction and exploitation of natural resources. And since most of these resources belong to developing countries, they should be the first victims of global warming. The help of the "great powers" is to push the national companies of developing countries out of the natural resources market and replace them with multinational corporations. Only the latter are supposedly able to provide an acceptable level of atmospheric pollution during the extraction and processing of minerals. From the point of view of Western adherents of the global warming theory, Russia and China are on a par with developing countries - their natural resources should also be transferred to external management.

To address the challenges of climate change and develop joint approaches to minimizing their negative impacts, African countries have established a number of interstate and regional environmental organizations and participate in the activities of international organizations on the continent.

N. V. Grishina (IAfr), Ph. D. in History, gave a presentation on this activity. She spoke about several environmental organizations, in particular the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, established by the Governments of the continent in 1985. Its main task is to assist in the development of national and regional environmental protection programs.

Doctor of Economics V. V. Pavlov (IAfr) spoke about the new climate programs of the African Development Bank.

Several presentations were made by participants on the impact of climate change - both continental and global - on individual countries and on certain areas of life and activity of African peoples. Candidate of Historical Sciences O. B. Gromova (IAfr) spoke about the impact of climate change on the social environment of the continent, in particular, on its gender aspects. It noted that women (as well as children and the elderly) are socially vulnerable and vulnerable (as well as the least educated and poorest) segments of the African population. They are particularly sensitive to the adverse effects of climate change on their living conditions. The extreme poverty of the female population provokes numerous diseases, increases the unfavorable environmental impact on the health of African women and does not allow them to maintain their livelihoods at the proper level. The continent's female and child populations are most affected by disease, hunger and malnutrition.

Candidate of Historical Sciences O. S. Kulkova (IAfr) continued the discussion of this problem in her speech. She spoke about the impact of climate change on the prospects for socio-economic development and ensuring human security in Africa, and how they are assessed by the expert community of the European Union.

In the report "Green Economy on the agenda of African countries", N. S. Kalinichenko (IAfr) analyzed the impact of climate change on the economy and, in particular, on the energy sector. It was noted that a number of African countries

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Countries that are aware of the importance of the transition to a "green economy" already have their own national policies in this regard and are taking certain steps in this direction. For example, Ethiopia is one of the countries actively implementing "green technologies" and seeks to follow the path of the "Climate of Sustainable Green Economy "strategy. In the future, the country links its development to green industrialization, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining a sustainable state of soil and water resources.

Green economy plans are also being gradually implemented in other countries: in Malawi, where biofuel production is increasing, and in Kenya, where large reserves of geothermal energy are increasingly being used. In Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda and a number of other countries, parks of solar and wind modules are being built, which helps reduce emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere.

N. F. Matveeva, PhD (IAfr), spoke about the impact of climate change on solving the problem of food security using the example of Kenya. She noted that a significant difference in the conditions of agricultural production is largely determined by climatic factors, in particular, terrain and precipitation patterns. These regimes are formed under the influence of winds dominating the waters of the Indian Ocean.

The impact of climate change on the deterioration of the quality of life of the population of Madagascar was discussed in a speech by Ms S. N. Rodionova (IAfr). In particular, she noted that Madagascar was included in the group of 20 countries most affected by climate change. The goal of this cluster of countries is to create a common financial fund with both public and private capital, which would be used to cover the costs associated with the elimination of the consequences of natural disasters. One of the main causes of these disasters on the island is deforestation: more than 80% of the green cover is destroyed here. It is estimated that at the current rate of deforestation on the island will completely disappear in 20 years.

However, changes in the African climate affect not only the African continent, but also other territories that are to varying degrees remote from Africa, including southern Russia. This was discussed in a speech by I. V. Buzyakova (Moscow State University of Tourism Industry named after Yu. A.Senkevich) and M. V. Dmitrieva (Moscow State Educational Complex), who reviewed the impact of the African climate on the Astrakhan region.

They, in particular, noted that the landscape structure of the Astrakhan region is represented by 8 physical and geographical districts. On the territory of the region there are 35 natural monuments, state nature reserves -"Bogdinsky-Baskunchaksky", "Ilmenno-Bugrovoy", "Berli Sands" and "Steppe", as well as reserves - Astrakhan Biosphere and Bogdinsky-Baskunchaksky natural. The unique plantations of the nut-bearing lotus, chilim, reed thickets in the Volga Delta, and natural thickets of the Mexican prickly pear cactus in the Chernoyarsk district are of interest. Exotic phenomena on the territory of the Astrakhan region include the flowering of Schrenk and Biberstein tulips, etc. Most of these sites are native to Africa, and their presence in the Astrakhan region is unique.

The impact of climate change on small island states in Africa was discussed in the report of Candidate of Historical Sciences L. M. Sadovskaya (IAfr). There are 6 such Countries: Cape Verde, Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Guinea - Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe. In particular, it was emphasized that all these countries are characterized, first, by a strong concentration of the population and its socio-economic activities in coastal zones; second, by the small size of these States; and third, by coastal erosion due to the increasing intrusion of salt water due to sea level rise. And finally, limited fresh water supplies. All these factors indicate the vulnerability of these states to climate changes on the planet, in particular, warming. And this will be primarily due to rising sea levels, as a result of which many of these small island States will be flooded.

First of all, this will affect such territories as the Maldives and Seychelles: most of their land surface is no higher than 3-4 m above sea level, and sometimes only 1.5 m. In the event of warming on these islands, vital infrastructure and large concentrations of settlements will be at risk due to their proximity to the coastline-often within 1 - 2 km.

The countries of the African continent are not equally provided with water, which causes clashes and conflicts between them. N. Z. Fakhrutdinova (IAfr) made a speech on this issue. In particular, she said that the strategic importance of water resources is growing in the region due to their depletion, pollution of fresh water sources.

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industrial wastewater and untreated waste, intensive agriculture, industrial use of water, pollution of rivers, aquifers and lakes with runoff from fields containing chemical fertilizers and pesticides, drainage of wetlands for agricultural purposes and housing construction, and population growth.

UNESCO predicts that 47% of the world's population will face water scarcity by 2030. The lack of water will cause intensive migration of the population, in comparison with which the scale of the current migration crisis in Europe will no longer be perceived as critical. The main migration flows expected in the coming years may fall on the Sahel zone, as Lake Chad is likely to disappear - it is located in Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon and provides fresh water to 68 million people. The reasons for this threat are excessive exploitation of water resources and air pollution on the European continent, which lead to a decrease in rain in the Sahel zone.

The way out of the current water crisis for African countries is seen in the use of new technologies: modern cleaning, repeated use of industrial wastewater, desalination, new projects (for example, the creation of a new solar reactor in the Sahara, the Great Man-made River in Libya, etc.).

Candidate of Historical Sciences I. G. Rybalkina (IAfr) in her speech described how climate change affects African nature reserves. As of April 2016, there are 70 biosphere reserves in 28 African countries, as well as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, reserves, specially protected areas, marine reserves, marine national parks and other protected areas. The most famous of them are: Serengeti (Tanzania), Tassili-Ajer (Algeria), Ruvenzovi (Uganda), Kruger (South Africa).

Warming of the earth's surface due to the "greenhouse effect" leads to the melting of eternal snow cover and glaciers on the highest mountain peaks of the tropical belt, located on the African continent-the peaks of Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Kenya (Kenya) and Margherita (Uganda). As a result, the biodiversity of flora and fauna is lost. So, biologists warn that by 2080, due to climate change, coffee trees may disappear from Africa, so several new nature reserves should be created in the areas of their growth.

The multifaceted processes of climate change and their implications for the socio-economic development of African countries are increasingly reflected in the African media. This topic was discussed in a speech by L. Y. Prokopenko, Ph. D. in History (IAfr). She noted that the African public receives a certain amount of information, including scientific information, necessary to understand the importance of this problem both for the socio-economic development of countries and for the very survival of the population. However, the number of publications in the African media on climate change is still disproportionate to the level of threat to the continent's countries. Most of the African media materials on this topic are reprints and translations from Western media, as well as reports on the work of international forums. At the same time, the share of publications about local environmental problems, scientific and educational materials, including those written by local specialists, is increasing. More critical information, in addition to publications of independent media, is available on the Internet, in various blogs and Facebook. Journalists often pay more attention to the official position of Governments than to actual events on the ground.

As a result of the discussion of the many challenges faced by African countries as a result of climate change, it was stated that these changes are quite real, and they pose a whole range of threats to the socio-economic development of entire regions of the continent. The prevention of global climate change requires a focused, concerted effort by the Governments of most of the world's countries. The participants of the round table questioned the postulate that poor countries are not able to protect their national environmental interests: the sooner they use the latest, environmentally friendly technologies and the most efficient methods of energy production and consumption, the better their prospects for long-term economic growth will be.

The review was prepared by V. I. GUSAROV, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, N. V. GRISHINA, Candidate of Historical Sciences.

Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences



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