Climate Change and Sustainable Development
By: Vivian Ngonzi Butamanya, HR Officer Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)
Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) convened a short course that was attended between 20 – 25 June 2016 and I was privileged to be a part of this training. The initiative was in response to increasing demand for increasing climate change awareness and building a knowledge base to tackle climate change among practitioners in government, academia, researchers, civil society and private sector.
Climate change is one of major human development challenges of the 21st century. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5) observes that since the mid-19th Century, world average temperatures have increased by about one degree (0.850C), and continue to rise, as a result of increased Greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions from human activities.
While the cause of climate is global through activities that increase GhG emissions, it will lead to different impacts in different countries and regions depending on different economic and environmental condition, and level of vulnerability and ability to cope with the impacts. The conclusion therefore is that since many people in developing countries are highly dependent on natural resources, they are highly vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. Therefore, climate change will inevitably affect the development prospects of many developing countries, and the attainment of sustainable development.
There is therefore an urgent need for local and global action through two parallel tracks: adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation because some effects of the climate changes can no longer be avoided and solutions such as new agricultural techniques and adequate infrastructure need to be identified. Mitigation because we need to reduce emission of GhG to reduce the magnitude of the changes.
Addressing climate change in the development context not only has the potential to increase climate resilience and reduce poverty but will also contribute to the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The training basically provided an introduction to climate change issues in the context of sustainable development. This learning programme is believed not turn participants into climate change experts; but rather provide an informed platform for engaging in concrete activities in the participants’ organizations and jobs. The programme also introduced common and individual responsibilities and opportunities, and presented tools and mechanisms for adaptation and mitigation actions at organizational and individual level. Through the training, focus was drawn to the understanding of the relationships between climate change and development and the need and the how to integrate climate change response actions in the development agenda.
Important to the women’s agenda and in relation to SDG 5, something that caught my attention was the session on ‘Addressing gender in climate change adaptation and mitigation’. The injustice of climate change is clear, people living in poverty all over the world; who have done the least to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that trigger global warming, these are worst affected by climate change impacts.
Gender inequality is a long-standing and pervasive social injustice. We cannot deliver sustainable development without tackling climate change, and we cannot tackle climate change without tackling the root causes of poverty which is gender inequality. It will only worsen if the injustices of climate change and gender inequality are not tackled together, and fast.
Moving forward, there’s need for activation of participatory bottom up planning and ensuring Climate change impacts are localized. It’s also critical that Gender analysis and vulnerability assessment be part of development planning tools and last but not least the need for measuring impact and reviews - M&E framework.
AKina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA) is one of the four partner institutes of the African Centers of Excellence (ACE) for Women's Leadership program run by the Institute of International Education (IIE) , Sub Saharan Africa- Ethiopia Office.
For more on IIE , ACE or AMwA please follow the links below.