Climate Change and Population conference on Africa opens

The Regional Institute for Population Studies is holding a climate change and population conference, aimed at bringing the eminent security threats of global warming to the doorsteps of stakeholders. The four-day conference, which is on the theme: �Climate Change, Migration and Security in Africa�, raises concerns about security issues relating to migration. It provides a common platform for stakeholders from academia, policy, security agencies, international organisations and civil society to discuss the issue at length, and strengthen the case for strategic thinking about policies that factor in climate change induced migration and its implication for security. An expected result is to share lessons of climate change innovation with stakeholders to demonstrate the relevance of scientific research to solving societal problems in the sub-region. Ms Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Head of the Gender Coordination Unit at the Office of the Director-General of the International Organisation of Migration, said there is the need to recognise migration as an important adaptation strategy. Although the impact of climate change is inevitable as the situation threatens to worsen as the year goes by due to excessive negative human interferences on the natural environment, she said. Recognising migration as an adaptation strategy would help in mitigating the harsh effects of climate change on misplaced communities and help people to deal with the stress associated with it because there would be proper planning to counter the harsh effects. According to her the negative impact of climate change on the environment cannot be disputed as the effects are clearly manifested in current temperature rises, floods, coastal erosion, low yields in agricultural produce, as well as desertification resulting from drought. She linked the rising migration levels to the displacement of sources of livelihoods of rural communities and suggested that disaster management be fully incorporated into national. Ms Lopez- Ekra said migration issues must be incorporated into climate change policies as failure to do so could be a recipe for conflicts and insecurity among migrants. Dr Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, Director of the Regional Institute for Population Studies, said migration should not be seen as a problem, but it is time for stakeholders to see it rather as a solution. This he explained is due to the fact that people who are faced with threats of disastrous situations resulting from climate change are bound to relocate to ensure human safety, security of livelihood and so there must be obvious preparation to counter the effect. He called for a speed up of interventions, build resilience, and intensify public education on climate change issues and mitigation measures to help address the situation. Dr Kwesi Appeaning Addo, a Lecturer at the Department of Marine and Fisheries at the University of Ghana, said the country is losing coastal lands to the sea as a result of erosion. He attributed other causes of coastal erosion to indiscriminate sand mining at these coastal beaches. He called on the government to look at the issue of coastal erosion from a holistic perspective, suggesting the institution of a National Coastal Management Authority, which would embody all agencies with dealings in marine, coastal and aquatic lives, could work together for sustainable impact.