BONN, Germany, February 24th (IPS) – For Sudanese youth, climate change is synonymous with insecurity.
“We live in constant uncertainty due to many factors that put Sudan at the top of the list when it comes to climate vulnerability,” said Nisreen Elsaim, Sudanese climate activist and chairman of the UN Secretary-General’s youth advisory group on climate change.
She said this was directly related to the uncertainty in Sudan. She noted that even a 2018 Security Council resolution recognizing “the adverse effects of climate change, ecological changes and natural disasters” such as droughts, desertification, land degradation and food insecurity, among others, had an impact on the situation in Dafur, Sudan.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) ranks Sudan among the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to climate change. The increasing frequency of droughts and the high variability in rainfall over decades have underscored the rain-fed agriculture of Sudan and the livelihoods of the pastoralists, who are the dominant livelihoods in rural areas like North Dafur.
“In a situation of resource degradation, hunger, poverty and uncontrolled climate migration are an inevitable outcome,” Elsaim said, adding that climate-related emergencies resulted in significant disruption to health care and livelihoods and that climate-induced migration increased the risk of gender-based violence.
She also pointed out that women, youth and children are the groups most affected by climate security.
In January, intermunicipal violence in Darfur displaced over 180,000 people, 60 percent of whom are under the age of 18. “Displacement has decreased in Sudan in recent years, but many of its triggers remain intact. Ethnic disputes between shepherds and farmers over scarce resources overlap with disasters such as floods and political instability, ”the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said in a statement. There are currently 2.1 million internally displaced people in Sudan.
Elsaim spoke yesterday, February 23, during a high-level debate of the United Nations Security Council on international peace and security and climate change, led by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The UK currently holds the Presidency of the Security Council and will also host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
“The land and resources in Africa and in many other parts of the world can no longer feed young people due to climate change,” warned Elsaim.
She said the youth’s quest for decent lives, jobs and adequate access to services, the new challenge of COVID-19 meant that the only solution for many was through land, cross-border or international migration.
The problem is global.
The natural historian Sir David Attenborough spoke in a video message to the Council and warned strongly that the “stability of the whole world” could be changed by climate threats.
“Today there are threats to the safety of a new and unprecedented species,” said Attenborough.
“They’re increasing global temperatures, the destruction of the ocean – that huge universal pantry that people everywhere rely on for their food. Globally changing weather conditions that ignore national boundaries but can turn forests into deserts, drown large cities and lead to the extermination of a large number of other creatures with whom we share this planet. ”
He warned that no matter what the world did now, some of these threats could become a reality and destroy cities and societies.
“If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that keeps us safe: food production, access to fresh water, habitable ambient temperature and food chains in the ocean,” warned Attenborough.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the last decade has been the hottest in human history and forest fires, hurricanes and floods are the new normal, which also affects political, economic and social stability.
“Climate disruption is a crisis intensifier and multiplier,” Guterres told the Security Council. “As climate change dries up rivers, reduces harvests, destroys critical infrastructure and displaces communities, it exacerbates the risk of instability and conflict.”
He referred to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute which found that 8 of the 10 countries that hosted the largest multilateral peace operations in 2018 were in areas highly exposed to climate change.
“The effects of these crises are greatest when fragility and conflict have weakened coping mechanisms,” Guterres said.
The United Nations has already stated that 2021 will be crucial not only to contain the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but also to address the climate challenge. Guterres has already stated that this year he will focus on building a global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050.
In addition to the debate in the Security Council, the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly closed yesterday. The gathering, the world’s leading environmental decision-making body, attended by government leaders, businesses, civil society and environmental activists, met virtually on February 22-23 under the theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
The Assembly concluded with the publication of a statement by member states recognizing “the urgency of continuing our efforts to protect our planet even in times of crisis” and calling for multilateral cooperation, as they “remain convinced that collective action is for the Successfully addressing global challenges is essential “. .
Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), noted that 87 ministers and high-level officials attended the two days. She shared some points of the dialogue, noting that the health of nature and human health are inextricably linked.
“For our own well-being, we must make our peace with nature in a way that shows solidarity,” said Msuya, referring to a recently published UNEP report.
Serving as a blueprint for addressing the triple emergencies of climate, biodiversity loss and pollution, the report provides detailed solutions based on global assessments.
Msuya added that the natural crisis is linked to the climate and pollution crisis and that the world now has the opportunity to embark on a green recovery “that will change our relationships with nature and heal our planet.”
She said the green recovery should put the world on the path to a low-carbon, resilient post-pandemic world.
In the meantime, Elsaim said that as a young person she was “certain that young people were the solution”. She urged world leaders to face and listen to the youth.
“Stop conflict by stopping climate change. Give us security and secure the future, ”she concluded.
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