The climate crisis is likely to exacerbate an already alarming situation in Africa, the World Food Program (WFP) warned.By Abdourahmane Diallo
“The climate crisis has the potential to overwhelm humanity,” warned the WFP executive director, David Beasley.
According to him, the world is not prepared for the unprecedented increase in hunger that we will witness.
With this in mind, he called on decision-makers to invest in programmes that help vulnerable communities adapt and build resilience to the changing climate.
These communities, the vast majority of which depend on agriculture, fisheries and livestock and contribute the least to the climate crisis, are bearing the brunt of the impacts with limited means to cushion the blow.
In West and Central Africa, climate change, combined with conflict and soaring food prices, has led to the highest levels of food insecurity since 2014, the WFP claimed.
According to the UN agency, from June to August, more than 31 million people did not have enough to eat during the lean season.
In the central Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), an estimated 10 million children (aged 6-59 months) are currently suffering from acute malnutrition.
Building on this year’s World Food Day theme, “Our Actions are our Future – Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment and Better Life,” WFP called on world leaders to recognize the close link between hunger and the climate crisis.
It also urged them to redouble their efforts to address climate change as attention turns to the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26).
“Addressing the challenges of the climate crisis and ensuring sustainable food systems is a collective responsibility,” said WFP Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Chris Nikoi.
“We must urgently scale up our efforts and take bold steps to help food-insecure communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from climate shocks and stresses,” he suggested.
Since 2018, WFP has been implementing a vegetation regeneration programme in the Sahel with 70,000 hectares of land rehabilitated or treated, and 920,000 people benefiting from asset creation activities last year alone.
The initiative also helps communities reclaim degraded land, recharge groundwater, produce nutritious food, and maintain a healthy diet.