Climate Change Causing Forced African Migration

climatechange003 With each passing year a new score of problems arise out of Earth’s changing climate. Whether you blame it on man, natural cycles or the crazy neighbor next door, the effects are unmistakable and must be acted upon.

One of those effects that have fallen by the wayside is the massive political and sociological effect taking place in Africa. Sadly, issues of this import falling by the wayside in Africa are not a new phenomenon. Too often the individual lives of Africans are overlooked and ignored.

However a two-day Climate Change Summit, that took place earlier this week, and hosted by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with the SA Local Government Association, endeavored to seek out solutions to one of these problems; forced migration.

The theme for the summit was “All hands on deck: towards a low carbon economy,” and the issue of forced migration was only one of the issues on the table. But some may see it as the most important to be dealt with at the moment.

In a joint statement released at the beginning of the conference, the City and SALGA said;

“The issue of the link between the way climate change will impact on Africa and the political implications thereof is a burning one. The ongoing xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa have prompted even further need for the urgency of this special session to look at climate change and forced migration.”

With an increase of floods, drought, famine and the like in much of the middle band of Africa, many people are heading south to find a better way of life. It is not just, as the news has so often painted it, an escape from political instability, but an escape from the raging climate.

“One of the actions taken by the city to deal with the influx [people from other countries] is the establishment of a migrant helpdesk to provide legal migrants and asylum seekers with information on basic services such as housing, education and healthcare in the city,” SALGA Chairperson and Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Amos Masondo told the summit at the Nasrec exhibition centre.

For a full report of what took place, make sure to head on over to the City of Johannesburg’s report here.

Source 1 and 2

Photo courtesy of The City of Johannesburg

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