What are the key findings?
“Africa is warming, with an average increase of 0.3°C per decade between 1991 and 2021. Lake Chad is disappearing – it has shrunk from 25 000 km2 in the 1960s to 1350 km2 in the 2000s. The sea along the African coastlines rises at an increasing rate which is higher than the global average, and 108 to 116 million people will be exposed to the risks related to the sea-level rise by 2030. Higher temperatures have contributed to a decline in agricultural yields, which is more than any other region in the world. Finally, climate related hazards continue to cause displacement of people in Africa and fuel conflicts.”
What worries you the most?
“The climate is changing fast, and we are acting slowly. While we are reaching a tipping point in irreversible effects of climate change, the rate of implementation of multi-hazard early warning systems in Africa is lower than in any other region. In 2021 alone, more than 3.2 million people in Somalia were affected by drought plaguing most of the country. At the end of the same year, 70 percent of people in Southern Madagascar lacked access to drinking water. The effects of climate change are not for tomorrow, they are felt today.”
What actions are needed now?
“There is a need to fill the gap of resources, including capacity, technical expertise and funding, when it comes to collecting climate and weather data to inform both climate services and early warning systems. This will help mitigate death, loss and damage.”
What do you hope will come from the presentation at the conference?
“The conference is a platform for us to showcase what we are doing and draw attention to the challenges which the African continent is facing. I hope the participants will reach an agreement on how to address the challenges presented in the report. This year is different from last year – we are going to Egypt as one continent, not as several organisations. We have agreed together on presentations and key messages. We will be stronger this year I hope, as a united front.”
Do you have hope for concrete decisions and actions?
“I have a great hope that the decision-makers and donors will take concrete action. African decision-makers first, and then with the support needed from the rest of the world. Climate is not an individual problem. It is a global problem which requires global action.”
Romeo is on assignment with the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), where he coordinates the development of the annual State of Climate in Africa report. He is also a contributor to the report as he conducts assessments of climate change impact in Africa for ACMAD. The report is led by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).