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Can environmentally induced migration become a security risk for Africa? What effects does population growth in Africa have on the availability of resources?
These were among others, questions addressed by experts, politicians and members of the civil society from Africa and Europe, who gathered on the 1st and 2nd of July 2019 in Rabat, Morocco, to exchange their views on different aspects of climate-induced migration in Africa.
The two-day expert conference was jointly organized by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Regional Program Energy Security and Climate Change Middle East and North Africa (KAS-REMENA), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Regional Program for Energy Security and Climate Change in Subsaharan Africa (KAS Cameroon) and the UN International Office for Migration.
On the first day, after welcoming comments were made by the Heads of KAS-REMENA and KAS Cameroon, a keynote speech on Migration, Environment and Climate Change was delivered by a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The following panel discussion addressed the current state and challenges of climate change and migration in Africa, highlighting among others the incentives and drivers for migration in Africa and the state of awareness on climate change on the continent. According to statistics from Afrobarometer, the main spur for migration in African countries remains the purpose of finding employment and that of escaping poverty and economic hardship. In Sub-Saharan and North Africa, economies strongly depend on agriculture or livestock, which are sensitive to changing climate conditions, e.g. heat extremes, precipitations and aridity. Climate change increases the likelihood and frequency of environmental hazards and onset disasters and has an impact on drought, water supplies, the productivity of goods and food security. The resulting precarity of livelihoods can lead to an increased rural-urban migration, but also to cross border movements of people, and therefore climate change can alter the typical migration patterns of communities.
The first working session focused not only on the impact of population growth on the scarcity of resources, but also on the way demography and limited resources are both politically addressed respectively in urban and rural areas. The nexus between population growth, greenhouse gas emissions and thus climate change and migration were also analyzed.
In the second working session, participants exchanged on whether environmentally induced migration can become a security risk for Africa and how changes related to climate change can challenge the stability of the region. Preventive measures to avoid climate-induced instability were discussed as well as related political initiatives.
The third working group pondered over possible political initiatives and mechanisms needed to prevent environmentally induced migration. Furthermore, panelists investigated how Africa and Europe could collaborate to implement such potential solutions.
On the last day, the results of the working group sessions were presented and a discussion engaged on the way forward in a plenary session.
The resulting recommendations and ideas of the conference will be published within this year by KAS Regional Programs for Energy Security and Climate Change in Africa and Middle-East.