Sahel Maghreb at COP 22, Marrakesh. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Samia Essaadi Sciences Po Paris   
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 10:02


During November 2016, the 22nd United Nations Conference on Climate Change is taking place in Marrakech. Faced with the urgency of global warming, 196 states are expected in Morocco to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.




Climate and sustainable development


For many countries, it is an opportunity to show their commitment by making known practical solutions that combine climate and sustainable development.


Worldwide, today, 805 million people are still hungry. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), by 2080, an additional 600 million people could suffer from malnutrition due to climate change. More than one billion people in total. And it is the poorest that will be the most affected: droughts, floods, hurricanes, but also the proliferation of new pests and diseases that endanger both crops and food safety. Global warming poses horrific threats to the livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations.


In both the Maghreb and the Sahel regions, drought is already a challenge that will only increase in the coming years. Without water and energy, they will have to face major social crises. Consequently, a major effort is needed to support the development of renewable energies in these high-risk climatic regions and to finance the sustainable development of cities by proposing actions to raise awareness about these issues.


The aim is to adapt urban public transport networks, to focus on waste management, to strengthen social cohesion and so on. A concrete solution is the restoration of arable land for ecological agriculture. Indeed, it allows the countries that practice it to employ four times more people and achieve self-sufficiency.


Thus, agriculture is a development issue for the entire African continent. The economy of the most arid regions is centered on agriculture, which is currently experiencing difficulties, notably in terms of socio-economic development, sustained rural exodus, uncontrolled urbanization and equipment and basic service. More and more young people are no longer willing to work as peasants/farmers in such difficult and precarious conditions. Efforts have been made in some regions to place local actors at the heart of their territory's development process.


However, this requires first of all restoring confidence in local populations and actors who are not used to expressing their needs and expectations. It also requires organizing the flow of information, facilitating access to training and promoting dialogue among interest groups. It also involves the exchange of knowledge and the complementarity of skills in order to liberate initiatives, thus providing an opportunity to build consensus. Sectors such as agro-ecology, ecotourism, quality craftsmanship and solidarity trade are activities that can restore the original model of production systems in desert regions.


However, an entrepreneurial and chain approach is essential for creating wealth and enhancing the heritage values of a territory.


Sustainable State structures


Moreover, in the Sahel, it is important to consolidate nations’ public institutions (justice, army, gendarmerie) by pooling resources, for example, at the regional level. This will create capacities for sustainable state structures: institutional efficiency, adequate human resources management, managerial talent in modern-style institutions. The goal is to build strong and stable institutions. This will enable more effective action on ecological agricultural development, education, health, renewable energies and public transport. Security issues cannot justify the lack of investment in education and vocational training.


It is, however, essential to invest in education and technical training in environmental trades, among others, to preserve languages and cultures in order to better prepare young people for global challenges. An educated and trained civil society involved in governance can help resolve an environmental crisis.


In Africa, unlike the rest of the world, in spite of immigration and the displacement of populations, the number of inhabitants will increase in the cities and the countryside. By focusing private sector investment with high social and environmental impact, it will be possible to reduce inequalities in order to reduce conflicts and social crises.


Human capital is often the greatest wealth of a country. So why wait to prepare for the future? Privileging human capital and natural capital means increasing the chances of coping with global warming. When a nation intelligently invests in education, languages and vocational training, it creates wealth and preserves its natural resources. What she teaches her young people today, respecting the environment, creates added value and will inevitably have a positive impact on the future of the country.


By 2035, the main potential work force of the globalized world will be African. According to forecasts by demographic experts, there will be an additional 340 million African youth over the next two decades. It will be a unique opportunity for Africa to have young, educated, abundant human resources to sustain its economic growth in a sustainable way while preserving its natural heritage. This added value will be a tremendous asset, if and only if significant investments have been made upstream in terms of education, languages, vocational training, employment and health.


To combat climate change and the risky situations that the rise in temperature causes, the implementation of effective solutions now becomes a priority in public policies. These solutions must be in line with the Millennium Development Goals. Thus, the valorization of a territory cannot be conceived without a global vision and an approach integrating the cultural, social, economic and environmental dimensions.


Samia Essaadi

Sciences Po Paris 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 November 2016 10:08 )

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