Climate change, especially lack of water, is resulting the continued loss of habitats across Africa despite the minimal coverage level of the adverse effects of climate change on the continent, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA) said on Monday.
“Climate change has been at the forefront of the news agenda for a while now as global temperatures continue to rise and the world seeks solutions to stem the tide,” the ECA said in a statement issued on Monday, as it also emphasized that the brunt of climate change is hugely affecting the African continent, albeit the insignificant coverage by the global community. “Little, however, is told of how Africa’s animals are suffering alongside the human populace from the effects of climate change, especially due to lack of water, resulting in continued loss of habitats,” an ECA statement read. Amid the United Nations’ aspiration to strengthen awareness on mitigating the adverse effects of climate change in Africa and the world, the UN Deputy-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed on Sunday visited Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest, almost half the size of Belgium at 14,651-square-km in a bid to see first-hand and discuss possible solutions, the ECA disclosed on Monday.
According to the ECA, with over 400 bird and 150 mammal species, 45,000 of them being elephants, the national wonder is suffering as weather patterns are no longer dependable, resulting in less rainfall. “The issues facing the parks are many and wide-ranging. They include human and wildlife conflicts, anti-poaching efforts, lack of water and loss of habitat, limited resources, droughts and population management,” the ECA said, adding that ongoing efforts are underway that envisaged building partnerships with the communities in the area to preserve the park. “Of the problems we have, climate change is our biggest challenge,” an ECA statement quoted Hillary Madhiri, an official at the national parks and wildlife office of Zimbabwe, emphasizing that the they had sunk over a 100 boreholes to save the animals from dying due to lack of water in the dry season. “More long term initiatives are needed to cope with the drought trends,” Madhiri stressed.
The UN deputy chief Mohammed, also after visiting the park, stressed that “we have seen what climate change is doing to our environment and livelihoods,” and ECA statement quoted Mohammed as saying. “We saw how the park is hounded by climate change; the way in which Hwange is hot, the water, and even animal migration and people. It’s quite complex,” she added. The UN Deputy-Secretary-General is in Zimbabwe to attend the 6th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-2020), which runs from February 24 to 27 in Zimbabwe’s resort town of Victoria Falls under the theme “2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.”