Africa hit by weak global environmental policies, says 5th Global Environment Outlook report

Posted on | juni 7, 2012 | No Comments

UNEP logo.svgIn what looks like affirming allegations by Africa’s civil society, the fifth global environmental outlook (GEO-5) report released Wednesday by the UN Environment Programme shows that only four out of possible 90 goals and objectives to achieve global sustainable development are in progress.

The report launched few days to the Rio+20 Summit points out that efforts to eliminate the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment happen to be the only goals of possible 90 to record progress.

According to the report, although many sub-national, national and international instruments now in place are contributing to environmental improvements, there is evidence, however, of continuing deterioration in many places and for most of the global environmental issues reported on in GEO-5.

Amina Mohamed, deputy director, UNEP said in Nairobi that from the national perspectives, the economic and social pillars the world over overshadows the environmental agencies and ministries and the outlook report would not have shown anything less.

She pointed out that at micro level, the environmental ministries the weakest of all ministries. “They are often underfunded and command least attention of any government the world over,” she said.

She added that at the global level, UNEP pales in the shadow of such organizations as WHO and UNDP.

She hopes that the upcoming Rio +20 will bring attention on this issue and help raise the environmental pillar to be at par with the other pillars.

The global inertia on effective environmental policies are played out in Africa, a continent with the youngest and fasted growing population.

According to the report, weak governance means that the complex web of interwoven issues are not being dealt with.

For example, the number of drought disasters rose by 38% between 1980s and the 2000s leading to crises in the Sahel and East African regions.

Equally, says the report, Africa’s risk of flooding has more than doubled since 1980 and its coastal region is at greatest risk from projected sea-level rises.

The coastal cities of Accra, Ghana, Doula, Cameroon, Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria and Luanda, Angola for example are all adversely affected by industrial pollutants.

Oil spillage and discharge from amrine transport present major management and regulatory challenges, especially for oil-producing countries such as Libya and Nigeria.

The report says that while other regions have met the goal to reverse deforestation, over the last ten years, Africa has lost more than three million hectares of forest annually.

Also, according to thereport, the particulate matter, the air pollutant with greatest impact on human health is highest in Africa where there is little access to cleaner stoves and fuel causes significant health impacts.

“If the current trends continue, if the current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and decoupled, then governments will precide over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director who was represented by Amina.

Africa has a clear position on how the global environment needs to be restructured, said Dr Desta Mebratu deputy director, UNEP Africa Regional Office.

AUTHOR: Henry Neondo
URL: http://
E-MAIL: neondohenry [at]


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