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Since the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuel technologies have been driving economic growth, so reducing emissions may appear to threaten developing countries’ progress, but to meet the Paris target, this is exactly what needs to happen. Is there a way for developing countries to prosper without increasing their emissions? 

How Do Developing Countries Contribute to Climate Change?

A study from the World Resources Institute in 2017 reveals that the world’s top three emitters of greenhouse gases, namely China, the European Union and the US, contribute more than half of the total global emissions while six of the top 10 emitters are developing countries. 

The World Economic Forum recognises that carbon emissions and developing countries being lifted out of extreme poverty are linked. An increase in carbon emissions observed over 30 years shows that poverty has been reduced within East Asia and Pacific and South Asia, while sub-Saharan Africa has, during the same time period, reduced their emissions and almost doubled the number of people living in poverty.

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Moreover, The Paris Agreement acknowledges that the efforts toward reducing carbon emissions will be common but not equal among developed and developing countries. The fairness of these contributions will be determined by national circumstances so that there will be equity in the responses and responsibilities to address climate change. This means that developing countries will be allowed to emit more carbon until they have developed enough that they no longer need to rely on carbon-intensive industries. 

However, data compiled by the World Resources Institute shows that since 2000, 21 developing countries have reduced annual emissions while simultaneously growing their economies, indicating that the decoupling of economic growth with emissions is possible.

Similarly, The Low Carbon Index found that several G20 countries have reduced their economies’ carbon intensity while maintaining GDP growth, including countries classified as ‘developing’, such as China, India, South Africa and Mexico. 

While global carbon emissions have nevertheless been rising exponentially over the past decade, the International Energy Agency reported three years of flat emissions globally, from 2014 to 2016, as the global economy grew. A study conducted in 2017 investigated whether renewable energy has anything to do with this decoupling. The findings indicated that the nations that generated more electricity from renewable resources had lower carbon emissions overall, illustrating that renewable energy is able to support economic growth while reducing emissions. 

Clean Economic Growth for Sustainable Development

According to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century’s (REN21) yearly overview of the global state of renewable energy, it made up 24.5% of global electricity generation in 2016. This went up to 26.5% in 2017, but by the end of 2018, it had gone down to 26.2%. While the adoption of renewable energy is steadily increasing, it is not enough to have a significant impact in the long term and needs to be adopted on a much larger scale. 

According to an International Energy Agency report, Africa has the richest solar resources but has installed only 5 GW of solar photovoltaics (PV), less than 1% of global capacity. Aiming to provide electricity for everyone on the continent would require a significant increase in electricity generation, with only 43% of Africans currently having a reliable power supply. According to the report, electricity demand on the continent will more than double by 2040.

The report indicates that with the right policies, Africa can meet the demand by relying on renewable energy, with solar energy having the potential to be its top renewable energy source, exceeding hydropower. That renewable energy is now the cheapest source of energy generation makes this all the more possible. “A focus on energy efficiency can support economic growth while curbing the increase in energy demand,” the report says. 

Africa’s endeavour to meet its energy needs in a renewable way while providing its inhabitants with a good quality of life should serve as inspiration for other developing nations.

There is evidently a huge opportunity for developing countries to generate energy sustainably. Renewable energy sources deliver economic benefits without the risks of fossil fuels; such benefits include creating more job opportunities in the energy sector and achieving energy independence.

Developing Countries Cannot Afford Renewable Energy

However, there are significant barriers that prevent developing countries from adopting renewable energy plans. Decarbonisation is often not a priority for less developed countries compared to economic growth and poverty alleviation. Many of these countries struggle with gaps in technical and financial expertise, a lack of resources and poor governance. 

Creating lowest-emission or renewable energy strategies shaped to each country’s unique circumstances is vital to maintaining and encouraging growth while reducing emissions. 

Developing countries need to implement policies that shift the economy away from carbon-intensive industries. These should be coordinated at a global level to ensure a worldwide shift towards an equitable and environmentally responsible future. 

In celebration of International Cheetah Day, Earth.Org is republishing this piece from October 1. South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world’s roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It’s also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.

Initiated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust nearly a decade ago, the Cheetah Metapopulation Project recognises that small cheetah populations may be physically secure in several small reserves, but the likelihood of inbreeding remains high if they are kept separated behind fences. By swapping animals between participating reserves, the trust helps private and state wildlife custodians manage overpopulation and underpopulation on their land and also identify new areas of suitable cheetah habitat. Most importantly, swapping animals reduces the risk of inbreeding among closely related animals.

Vincent van der Merwe, coordinator of the trust’s metapopulation initiative, says that when the project began in 2011, there were 217 cheetahs scattered between 41 reserves in South Africa and beyond. Now there are 419 spread across 60 reserves — more than a third of South Africa’s total cheetah population.

Under Pressure

Cheetah populations elsewhere in Southern Africa have not prospered over the past 50 years. In Zimbabwe, cheetah numbers have crashed from 1,500 in 1975, to just 170 today. Botswana’s cheetah population has held steady at around 1,500 over the same period, but illegal capture for captive breeding and conflicts with farmers and the growing human population are increasing. In Namibia, there were an estimated 3,000 cheetah in in 1975; roughly 1,400 remain today.

In contrast, numbers of cheetahs in South Africa have grown from about 500 in 1975 to nearly 1,300 today. Van der Merwe, who is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild), says he’s confident that South Africa will soon overtake Namibia and Botswana, largely because the majority of cheetahs in South Africa are protected and managed behind fences, whereas most of the animals in the neighborhing countries remain more vulnerable on mainly unfenced lands.

Wildlife researchers Florian Weise and colleagues have reported that private stock owners in Namibia still trap cheetahs mainly for translocation, but there are few public or private reserves large enough to contain them. Weise says that conservation efforts need to focus on improving tolerance toward cheetahs in commercial livestock and game farming areas to reduce indiscriminate trapping.

Van der Merwe says fences can be both a blessing and a curse. While these barriers prevent cheetahs and other wild animals from migrating naturally to breed and feed, they also protect cheetahs from the growing tide of threats from humanity and agriculture.

To simulate natural dispersion patterns that guard against inbreeding, the trust helps landowners swap their animals with other cheetah reserves elsewhere in the country. The South African metapopulation project has been so successful in boosting numbers that the trust is having to look beyond national boundaries to secure new translocation areas in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

Cheetah translocations have been going on in South Africa since the mid-1960s, when the first unsuccessful attempts were made to move scores of these animals from Namibia. These relocations were mostly unsuccessful.

“Most of those early attempts were a flop because the cheetahs were not kept in bomas before release and some of the reserves were also poorly fenced — so the cats shot out almost as soon as they were released,” van der Merwe said.

Translocated cheetahs are now generally confined to capture bomas, small fenced enclosures, for four to six weeks to allow them to acclimate to their new home environment prior to being set free.

“We have found that four weeks is normally long enough to break the homing instinct and if you keep them in a boma for longer than that, they tend to lose fitness and condition,” van der Merwe said.

The Phinda private game reserve in Zululand, one of several private game reserves that began re-introducing cheetahs in the early 1990s, recently swapped some of its animals with the nearby Manyoni private game reserve.

“We have found that when we capture and translocate cheetahs to other reserves, the Phinda cats do very well elsewhere because they grew up in a challenging environment,” van der Merwe said. “Because they have to share space with lion, hyena and leopard they have learned to look after themselves — so they are pretty tough animals.”

Charli de Vos, a wildlife monitor at Phinda, says when new cheetahs are released into the reserve in small units, at least one animal is fitted with a VHF tracking collar.

For the first few weeks, she says, the animals’ movements are tracked on a daily basis to ensure that they are not showing “homing” tendencies and that they are also getting used to the presence of tourist and staff vehicles.

“This will apply until the animals have relaxed within their new environment. Once the animals have established a home range within the reserve (approximately three months after release), the VHF collar will be removed. Thereafter the research and monitoring team will try and get a visual of each individual cheetah at least once every second week,” de Vos said.

The reserve also has an online database to record sightings of the animals, with tourist guides, researchers, land managers and land owners able to add sightings.

Despite a cub mortality rate of between 50% and 80% on some reserves, van der Merwe says there are now about 90 cheetahs in the Zululand area. He says cub mortality rates vary according to the number of larger predators such as lions and hyenas.

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Swinging For the Fences

But other wildlife conservation leaders have a different perspective on cheetah conservation strategy.

Gus Mills, a senior carnivore researcher retired in 2006 from SANParks, the agency that manages South Africa’s national parks. after a career of more than 30 years in Kalahari and Kruger national parks. He says the focus should be on quality of living spaces rather than the quantity of cheetahs.

Mills, who was the founder of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Group in 1995, and who also spent six years after retirement studying cheetahs in the Kalahari in South Africa, says it’s more important to properly protect and, where possible, expand the size of existing protected areas.

He also advocates a triage approach to cheetah conservation, in which scarce funds and resources are focused on protecting cheetahs in formally protected areas, rather than diluting scarce resources in an attempt to try and save every single remaining cheetah population.

“People have an obsession with numbers. But I believe that it is more important to protect large landscape and habitats properly,” Mills said.

He suggests that cheetahs enclosed within small reserves live in artificial conditions: “It’s almost like glorified farming.”

“In the long run we have to focus on consolidating formally protected areas,” he added. “Africa’s human population will double by 2050, so cheetah populations in unfenced areas will become unsustainable if they are eating people’s livestock.”

Mills, who was closely involved in a similar metapopulation project for wild dogs, said he tried to encourage landowners to pull down the boundary fences, to create larger areas of habitat.

“But there are many landowners who don’t want to do that. They want their own areas and their own management programs. But my philosophy is: Take care of the ecosystem so that the animals can take care of themselves, so that nature can run its course,” Mills said.

“Unfortunately, there are so few areas left where nature can have its say these days.”

Van der Merwe says the financial costs of metapopulation management are unavoidable and justified, noting that private reserves bear the overwhelming bulk of the translocation and monitoring costs.

“This is 2020. State funding for conservation has collapsed in most parts of Africa and the days of setting aside any new large, wild open spaces are long gone,” he said. “We should be celebrating the fact that many more private ecotourism reserves have been established on former cattle ranches in South Africa, outcompeting agriculture as a land use and creating new habitat for cheetah. The best we can do is to try and consolidate smaller private and community-owned reserves with larger national parks.”

Sarah M. Durant of the Zoological Society of London and the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, says cheetahs remain susceptible to rapid decline and that, ultimately, conserving the remaining free-ranging populations in Botswana and Namibia will require “a paradigm shift in conservation toward a holistic approach that incentivizes protection and promotes sustainable human-wildlife coexistence across large multiple-use landscapes.”

This article was originally published on Mongabay, written by Tony Carnie, and is republished here as part of an editorial partnership with Earth.Org.

On a small coral island off the coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, the sweltering May heat marks the beginning of the annual dry season. This tiny island is usually home to about 700 people who live off of its abundant marine resources year-round, but for two months in the summer of 2018 the island and its inhabitants welcomed some new faces. Located 12 000 km away from sub-Saharan Africa, it hides the missing clue as to why the massive continent’s climate change plans will remain incomplete without the inclusion of communities and private non-governmental actors.

A team of researchers led by Michele L. Barnes of James Cook University found themselves on the island at a crucial time. Like so many different parts of the world today, this overlooked region has already begun to experience the severe impacts of climate change—in this case sea-level rise, coastal erosion and disruptions to critical reef ecosystems.

With its marine resources dwindling, the researchers have come to observe how this island’s highly climate-vulnerable community will adapt, with the hopes of better understanding the different factors which underpin adaptive responses to climate change.

In a world where financial assets are heralded as the essential foundation of adaptive capacity (i.e. the capacity to change behaviours within an existing system in response to climate change), they hoped to uncover some other building blocks which could serve to strengthen existing approaches of reducing climate vulnerabilities. 

Halfway across the globe, at the annual Bonn climate talks which precede each year’s UN Conference of the Parties (COP)—an enormous and prestigious UN event where dozens of thousands of people meet to negotiate climate action, an infernal battle was unfolding that would set in motion a chain of events with considerable implications for what Barnes and her team had just set out to find.

Frustrated by a lack of progress on the financial mechanism required by the Paris Agreement, a mechanism which promises developing countries financial support in adapting to climate change, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) upped the ante and held the EU climate agenda ransom.

Their ultimatum was simple enough: either rich countries report their intended finance flows ahead of the upcoming COP (and thereby cement their commitment to assist the world’s poorest continent fight climate change), or this group of 54 African nations would not be offering their much-needed signatures come November when the final deadline approaches for agreeing on a ‘rulebook‘ for the Paris Agreement—a rulebook which the EU remained determined to dominate.

In the consensus-driven world of UN climate forums, with pressure mounting to finalise the historic Paris Agreement and time running out to meet the targets set by it, a threat such as this must be taken seriously.

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climate change communities africa

Figure 2: Estonian environment minister Siim Kiisler speaks to Seyni Nafo, who was chair of the African Group of Negotiators, at a meeting of EU environment ministers in July 2017 (Photo: Annika Haas/EU)

Today’s Climate

This is a story rooted in many years–and indeed decades–of buildup, but only recently could we begin to appreciate its outcomes.

To understand the significance of Barnes’s trip to the remote Pacific island, the showdown which unraveled at the Bonn climate talks or any other effort intersecting climate action, finance and development, it is necessary to recognise the importance of the term resilience.

Resilience is a word that has been gaining more traction in climate discussions. Essentially, climate resilience refers to the ability to prepare for, recover from and adapt to the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. In short, it means that key economic and social systems are climate-proofed for a future where thriving–not just surviving–is the goal.

A key component of resilience is therefore adaptation (more specifically, the capacity to adapt). As for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the importance of climate adaptation cannot be understated—it is literally a matter of life and death for the millions clawing their way out of poverty in a highly vulnerable continent that is only starting to realise its vast potential for development. African governments and negotiators know this, and so does the UN.

climate change communities africa

Figure 3: Workers from the United Nations Development Program assisting well installation efforts in Gambia (UNDP).

Later in 2018, at COP24 in Poland, the African Group of Negotiators reached an agreement with their European counterparts, contrary to the expectations of many. The rulebook for the Paris Agreement was largely finalised, and though there were still some matters that needed to be addressed in the following year’s COP, it seemed as though the world’s nations were now as ready as ever to take on climate change together.

Yet, despite the agreements reached and settlements made, what the African nations were fighting for in Bonn that summer was not exactly achieved. They had to settle for vague, uninspiring terminology to govern their incoming financial support—developed countries were now expected to report on their projected climate financing to developing countries only “as available,” and communicate just “an indication of” any new and additional resources to be provided.

This became more clear the following year (in 2019) at COP25 in Madrid. Matters that were not finalised at COP24 were expected to be finalised here, but not only were they pushed back once more, older problems that were considered settled had resurfaced. One of these problems was finance.

Barbara Creecy, President of the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment, said at COP25 that Africans “urgently require new, predictable and adequate financing for adaptation beyond voluntary donor assistance.”

Even UN Secretary General António Guterres said he was disappointed with the results of COP25 and that “the international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis.”

2020, then, was supposed to be the year where these issues–particularly finance–were to finally be settled. That was, of course, until the coronavirus pandemic tore through the planet and COP26 was delayed for an entire year.

So with climate finance targets far from being met, major talks on hold due to current circumstances and a global economy still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic (with massive implications for African economies and development aid of all forms), should sub-Saharan Africa still pin its dreams of a climate resilient future on increased finance from foreign countries?

As is starting to become more apparent—No.

Inclusion as the Key

Rather than hoping and waiting for more financial contributions from developed countries (a situation in which Africa not only loses valuable time but also the ability to fully dictate its own development needs and paths), SSA governments must do more to ensure greater inclusion of domestic non-governmental actors in order to drive climate adaptation and, ultimately, achieve resilience.

This is not a new finding. As far back as 2013 reports such as this one by the International Development Research Centre were calling on African nations to “open up private-sector finance for adaptation.” They recognised that while international funding was essential, so much more could be achieved by engaging the private sector.

More calls for the inclusion of the private sector followed. In 2018, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) released a synthesis paper titled Climate Change Adaptation in Africa, which acknowledged the impressive initiatives and funds that have helped mobilise climate adaptation in Africa, but quickly yielding that “the true costs of adaptation will be substantially higher than originally projected,” and that “substantial engagement with the private sector” will be needed if those adaptation targets are to be met.

In 2020, an article by Climate Analytics highlighted Ghana’s recent “Private Sector Engagement Strategy” as evidence that governments in SSA are starting to realise the importance of this engagement. It argues that the “diversity of the private sector means that an effective strategy will leverage the expertise, creativity, innovation and resources of the country’s wide range of industries and firms,” allowing Africa to make the most of its own resources rather than expend time searching for more. 

A similar sentiment is shared by Alice Saisha, a columnist at Project Syndicate who makes the case for “Leveraging Africa’s Informal Economy for Young People.” She states that sub-Saharan Africa’s informal economy amounts to 41% of its GDP, and that in order for SSA to overcome “governance failures like rampant corruption and inadequate investment incentives,” governments must be ready to listen and work together with non-governmental organisations to harness the continent’s immense human capital.

However, one problem still remains. As more papers and studies are finding (and as predicted by economic theory), private sector actors often require considerable financial incentives to adopt adaptation measures, and therefore concerns remain that the private sector views environmental issues as impediments, not contributors, to profit and development. This obstacle can be overcome with proper fiscal incentives, but this is by no means an “obvious” solution for cash-strapped African governments still battling with countless other problems which continue to plague their relatively young postcolonial institutions.

So What Can Be Done?

The Power of Communities in Shaping Climate Change Plans in Africa

Once again, the answer lies in inclusion, not just of the private sector, but of the communities that stand to lose most from the impacts of climate change in Africa and beyond, and therefore stand to gain most from adapting to it and becoming resilient.

In sub-Saharan Africa, these communities are often left behind in climate change conversations despite being the intended beneficiaries of so many projects, development programmes and capacity-building efforts. As one author puts it after conducting a study in a rural Nigerian village where one such UN project was underway, “Climate change projects in Africa aren’t working because communities are being left out.” Where there was a lack of inclusion, communities became apprehensive and were unlikely to actively engage with such projects, effectively leaving them unable to address their own vulnerabilities in the long run.

But including community stakeholders in national and sub-national projects is not just a matter of transparency or good will—it is a way through which SSA governments can fully make use of their country’s social and physical resources and move past their reliance on foreign help.

The merits of this approach became more than evident with the publishing of Barnes’s most recent paper in Nature Climate Change—the paper in which she and her team report the findings from their time in Papua New Guinea. Their research shows convincing evidence of the power of personal connections in climate adaptation that could apply just as well to Africa as it does to small island nations.

At its core, her research shows that people are more empowered to respond when they see others doing the same. Rather than solely focusing on policies that seek to reduce vulnerability to climate change by channeling funds to build up material assets or create infrastructure, her paper emphasises that a “broader set of factors can play an important part in the actions communities end up taking.”

Specifically, empowering and leveraging inter- and intra-communal connections between families and friends is key to helping communities adapt to the devastating impacts climate change will have on their homes and livelihoods, in much the same way that enabling the private sector is key to achieving resilience in economies in Africa.

This is due to three key domains which Barnes and her team specify as social organisation (wherein network exposure allows for social influence to catalyse action in response to climate change), social learning (whereby personal experience accumulates over the years and enables adaptive and transformative responses to resource management amid changing environmental conditions), and perceived power (which plays a critical role in encouraging–or discouraging–adaptive behaviour within a network).

We especially witness this tremendous ability communities possess during times of crises, such as when devastating hurricanes make landfall, or when a pandemic such as COVID-19 forces entire cities to shut down. Here, social organisation, learning and power catalyse positive response, allowing communities to adapt to the challenge and ultimately overcome it. There is no doubt that climate change is one of the biggest existential threats human civilisation has faced in the entirety of its existence, and so facing it without utilising this unique asset of ours could prove to be a fatal step.

So while the African and European negotiators battled it out in Bonn in 2018 for a chance to dictate when, where and how much climate finance will flow, Barnes and her team confirmed in Papua New Guinea that efforts to build financial assets, crucial as they are, may not be enough to achieve true climate resilience, and that all existing and future efforts of this nature would be far more effective if governments better appreciated and empowered their communities.

With a population that’s expected to double to two billion people by 2050, sub-Saharan Africa should orient more of its policies around this described inclusion of its various non-governmental actors, enable the private sector to take the lead on climate adaptation by providing adequate financial incentives and policies, but also harness the power of its communities in Africa to once again put people, not money or infrastructure, at the heart of its climate plans for the future.

Featured image by: Wikimedia Commons

Poaching for tusks, horns or other body parts is a well-recognised threat to wildlife in Africa, but the impact of hunting for bushmeat may pose a greater threat. Conservationists in Southern Africa are exploring new ways to contain this.

“Bushmeat is a significant problem in Zambia. For us, it’s by far the biggest threat to our wildlife populations,” Luwi Nguluka, awareness programs manager for Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP), told Mongabay.

The Zambian NGO has been working with the country’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to campaign against the supply and demand in the illegal bushmeat trade.

Nguluka says urban bushmeat consumption in Zambia is rising as populations grow and wealth increases. At the same time, Zambia’s wildlife populations are declining, making bushmeat harder to come by and so driving up the price. With increased price comes prestige, adding yet another driver to demand for the illegal meat in Lusaka, the capital.

It’s a pattern other researchers are noting elsewhere. Peter Lindsey, conservation initiatives director for the Wildlife Conservation Network, has conducted extensive research into bushmeat hunting. When he surveyed managers of protected areas, NGO staff, and tourism industry representatives about the impact of hunting for bushmeat across 11 countries in Africa, respondents ranked it as the severest threat to wildlife in protected areas, alongside hunting for body parts such as rhino horn.

Despite this, bushmeat hunting in Africa and beyond does not garner the column inches devoted to more well-known conservation issues such as the ivory trade, rhino horn or deforestation.

“We are only now beginning to appreciate that this crisis may extend to much of the Africa as a continent,” said Julia van Velden, a doctoral candidate at Brisbane’s Griffith University studying the bushmeat issue in Malawi.

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bushmeat africa wildlife
The Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife’s (DNPW) “This Is Not a Game” campaign highlights the health risks from consuming illegal bushmeat. Image courtesy of This Is Not a Game.

While the park managers and others surveyed identified hunting for bushmeat as a key threat to wildlife in Africa, there is not enough research to precisely define its impact. One worrying indicator is the many instances of otherwise healthy ecosystems where populations of large-bodied mammals are well below their expected numbers. One such example is Zambia, where populations of large mammals in national parks are 74% below their maximum carrying capacity, which researchers believe is largely a result of illegal hunting.

In West and Central Africa, where hunting and trading of many kinds of wildlife is legal or semi-legal, researchers try to extrapolate how much hunting occurs by visiting bushmeat markets, though the informal nature of the trade and the inaccessibility of some areas makes this a challenge. Estimates for the Congo Basin range from 1 million to 4 million tons of bushmeat consumed every year, with both these figures considered an underestimate by their authors. But even with some understanding of consumption, the complexity of studying forest ecosystems makes it hard to say with certainty exactly what impact bushmeat hunting is having.

The challenge becomes greater in countries where bushmeat is strictly illegal. Hunters and consumers are often understandably reluctant to divulge their activities, making it challenging for researchers to understand who is hunting what and why.

The social and economic dynamics of the bushmeat trade vary from place to place, so findings in one region are not necessarily applicable elsewhere. In many countries in Africa there is currently little or no research into the bushmeat trade, and the high cost of the research required is often beyond the means of already thinly stretched park authorities.

“Without local studies, it is impossible to manage this issue, as you simply cannot say the same drivers of these activities apply,” van Velden said.

Tackling the Supply

For communities living alongside wildlife, bushmeat can be an important component of their diet. A study tracking the availability of fish against hunting of bushmeat in nature reserves in Ghana over 30 years found that hunting increased sharply in years when fish supply was poor, suggesting an important link between bushmeat and food security.

In Madagascar, where commercial trade in bushmeat is relatively limited, hunting offers an affordable source of animal protein for rural communities. In one survey conducted in eastern Madagascar, 95% of those interviewed said they had eaten at least one protected species. But the majority showed a preference for meat from domestic animals, suggesting bushmeat hunting could be greatly reduced if alternative sources of animal protein were affordable and available.

While some hunters elsewhere on the continent still hunt purely to provide food for their families, in many places hunting wildlife has a more commercial aspect.

“It’s very rare that it’s purely subsistence,” Lindsey told Mongabay. “In some cases, guys will hunt for a bit of meat for their families but very often in that kind of arrangement, they will also sell some of the meat.”

A study of illegal bushmeat hunting in the Okavango Delta found that households that hunted typically had more wealth and cattle than those that didn’t, suggesting hunters were motivated by money rather than necessity. An unpublished study of illegal bushmeat hunting around Kafue National Park in Zambia found that virtually all hunters there were economically motivated, selling 90% of their meat and keeping 10% for their own consumption.

Communities living adjacent to national parks in Africa are often some of the most economically deprived, hampered by a lack of infrastructure and with already limited economic options often exacerbated by restrictive conservation measures. The appeal of illegal hunting is easy to see for Zambia’s poachers when each can earn a median income of $48 a month in an area where the median household income is just $15 a month.

“In most parts of Africa, mechanisms to benefit communities from wildlife are not really there,” Lindsey said, “so they take the only benefit that is available to them, which is to hunt for the pot or hunt to sell.”

Lindsey says that finding ways for local communities to benefit from wildlife is crucial to reducing hunting. One solution would be to give local communities ownership over local wildlife with an allowable quota for hunting. Local communities could choose to sell their quota to trophy hunters for greater economic return than selling bushmeat, as in Namibia’s community conservancies.

The quota system is not without its own issues, though. Lindsey points out that managing quotas in a wild ecosystem, where populations are affected by ecological conditions such as droughts, is challenging and requires constant monitoring.

Of course, benefits to local communities don’t have to be consumptive. Namibia’s community conservancy model also generates income from ecotourism and photographic safaris.

“In Namibia, in the community conservancies, there is pretty clear evidence that these methods have resulted in recovery of wildlife populations in some areas,” Lindsey said.

In a 2018 survey of rural residents in 32 of Namibia’s communal conservancies, 90% said they were happy with trophy hunting on conservancy land due to the benefits it generates for the communities. Only 11% of respondents said they supported conserving wildlife on community lands if the benefits from hunting no longer existed. An economic analysis of 77 Namibian conservancies published in Conservation Biology, found that Namibia’s complementary mix of both ecotourism and hunting was crucial to maximizing returns for local communities, and that a singular focus on either would greatly reduce the value of Namibia’s wildlife to local people.

In Lindsey’s survey of protected area managers, Namibia notably bucks the trend with bushmeat hunting of low concern relative to other threats, including poaching wildlife for body parts such as ivory, human-wildlife conflict, and incursions by livestock into protected areas.

Community-based initiatives like Namibia’s conservancies are challenging to implement. They require an identifiable local community group with exclusive and legally enforceable ownership of land — something that does not always exist. The revenue generated from activities like ecotourism and trophy hunting is also seldom enough to support a whole community, or else the benefits are unevenly distributed.

And successful community conservation initiatives like Namibia’s still require costly protection.

“Even if you had a protected area with the local community on side, there’s still a huge resource that someone is going to come and try and harvest if you don’t protect it,” Lindsey said.

A top UN humanitarian official has warned that Africa’s Sahel Region is at the centre of the accelerating climate crisis and a “canary in the coalmine of our warming planet.” He also criticised what he called a “totally inadequate” effort to help Sahel countries adapt to global warming. 

Mark Lowcock, the UN’S undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, pointed to the “alarming deterioration” of the Sahel region in recent years that has led to tens of millions of people being displaced, rising extremist violence, massive violations of human rights and growing political instability, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. 

These countries have seen a total of 13.4 million people needing humanitarian assistance, being forced to leave their homes due to unprecedented flooding across west and central Africa. This extreme weather has also decimated agropastoral production in the region, which 4 of 5 families in the region rely on for their livelihoods. Large-scale displacement is straining weak services and scarce natural resources, such as land and water, further exacerbating tension and social conflicts. 

Though extreme weather events occur all over the world, communities in the Sahel are much less resilient to changes resulting from the climate crisis. Lowcock told the Guardian that rapid population growth and traditional lifestyles reinforce the problem. He says, “It is very striking how bad the climate problem is. There is a totally inadequate level of international effort in helping these countries adapt to climate change.” 

“There is no disagreement about the underlying problems,” he continues. “But there has not been adequate action taken. Whenever world leaders gather, the Sahel tends to be eighth, ninth or tenth on the list of things to talk about, so it never gets the attention it deserves.”

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Some projections say that the average daytime temperature in the Sahel is expected to rise by right degrees Celsius by 2100. 

On October 20, the UN, together with Denmark, Germany and the EU, hosted a ministerial conference on the humanitarian situation in the central Sahel region. The co-chairs affirmed the need to address the root drivers of humanitarian needs in the region, including conflict and violence, the climate crisis, weak governance and chronic poverty and underdevelopment. They also called for training on international humanitarian law and on humanitarian access to be increased. 

The EU’s special envoy to the Sahel, Ángel Losada Fernández, recently described a “perfect storm” of crises in the region, which experts say exacerbate Islamist militancy. 

In 2012, extremist violence in the Sahel region surged after a coalition of Islamist and local separatist tribesman took control of much of northern Mali. Efforts by French troops and UN peacekeeping operations have been unable to effectively mediate the conflict and security has continued to deteriorate, thanks in part to an ISIS affiliate, Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).

The region has recently been rocked by renewed political strife, with the second coup in a decade unseating the elected government of Mali. 

Further, environmental projects on the African continent have failed to make a significant impact. The Great Green Wall of Africa was conceived in 2007 by the African Union as a 7 000km barrier intended to hold back the Sahara and Sahel deserts. The “wall” was intended to improve livelihoods in the regions impacted by droughts in the Sahel region, sequester carbon dioxide and reduce conflict, terrorism and migration. However, the project has covered only 4% of its target area halfway through its schedule. 

Africa will remain turbulent because it is poor and young, but also because it is growing. Development will be disruptive but also present huge opportunities. To overcome political violence and begin to tackle the climate crisis, the continent needs rapid, inclusive economic growth along with good governance. Middle income countries are making progress in attracting foreign investment but poor countries will remain dependent on aid. More international and regional cooperation is needed as part of this process, including scaled up support for peacekeeping. 

Featured image by: Flickr 

Earth.Org reported on July 2 that at least 350 elephant deaths in the Okavango Delta in Botswana had occurred mysteriously. It has now emerged that the elephants died from ingesting toxins produced by cyanobacteria, according to government officials. 

The deaths of the elephants between May and June baffled conservationists who called the mass die-off a “conservation disaster.” It was initially suggested that they died from a rodent virus called encephalomyocarditis, or toxins from algal blooms. Government have now said that they will be testing waterholes for algal blooms in the next rainy season to reduce the risk of another mass die-off. 

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Mmadi Reuben, principal veterinary officer at the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, said in a news conference, “Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths. These are bacteria found in water. However, we have many questions that still need to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only. We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating.” Reuben said that water samples were tested at laboratories in Botswana, South Africa and the US, but declined to give further details. 

Earth.Org previously reported that 70% of the elephant deaths in Botswana happened near water holes containing algal blooms, which can produce toxic microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria. Toxins were initially ruled out because no other species died- except for one horse- but elephants could be particularly susceptible because of the time they spend bathing and drinking large quantities of water. 

However, Dr Niall McCann, director of conservation at UK-based charity National Park Rescue, is skeptical. “Just because cyanobacteria were found in the water, that does not prove that the elephants died from exposure to these toxins,” he says.

The climate crisis is increasing the intensity and frequency of harmful algal blooms, making the issue more likely to happen again. In the Antarctic region, algal blooms have been turning snow green, which will exacerbate snow melt. McCann says, “New emerging infectious diseases are happening all the time and the more we look into epidemiology the more we discover we don’t know.”

African elephants have been facing serious threats, such as climate change-related droughts, conflicts with farmers whose land the elephants trample and poachers who illegally hunt and kill the elephants for their valuable ivory tusks. Across Africa, poaching has had a devastating impact on the continent’s elephant population over the decades. Africa was home to 1.3 million elephants in the 1970s, but today there are just around 500 000. Less than 30 000 elephants are estimated to remain in the wild.Thankfully, there is some good news for African elephants in Kenya, whose population has more than doubled in 30 years. 

Following the tragic news about hundreds of sudden elephant deaths in Botswana due to a mysterious illness, this marks a glimmer of hope for the species. 

On August 12, to mark World Elephant Day, the Kenya Wildlife Service reported that the country’s elephant population has more than doubled in 30 years, increasing from 16 000 in 1989 to 34 800 by the end of 2019. Additionally, one of the most popular parks in Kenya, the Amboseli National Park, is experiencing an elephant baby boom. About 170 elephant calves have been born in 2020 so far and more are expected. Additionally, two sets of twins were born this year in the national park, a rare occurrence among the species. In contrast, there were 113 new calves born in the whole of 2018, according to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

The combination of interruptions in international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic and periods of heavy rainfall has contributed to Kenya’s recent elephant baby boom. During drought years, female elephants often cannot find sufficient food to supply their calves with milk, but with abundant rainfall, it leads to more vegetation growth for grazing and fewer elephant deaths due to dehydration and starvation. 

The population boom is also partly due to the country’s anti-poaching efforts. The number of elephants poached in Kenya in 2020 has dropped significantly from previous years- 7 elephants have been killed by poaching this year, compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. Park rangers are also doing their jobs to protect the elephants from poachers in Kenya. For example, a project named tenBoma was developed in Kenya in 2018, which connects the local communities to regional and international agencies to stop elephant poachers. The wildlife service and community rangers in Kenya are trained to become data analysts to help predict a poacher’s next strike. Furthermore, the Kenyan government has also implemented harsher penalties for anyone convicted of poaching wildlife or trafficking wildlife trophies, including heavy fines and jail sentences.

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As mentioned previously, the current pandemic situation has been a largely positive event for the elephant populations in Africa, especially in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, however, local people who depend on tourism have been negatively affected and land use conflicts between humans and elephants have increased. Human-elephant conflict is a big issue in Kenya; elephants can pose a real threat to subsistence farmers at the interface between the elephants’ range and the agricultural land, which may result in further injuries and mortalities. The farmers living next to protected areas lose their crops and often depend on food aid. Besides, the nomadic pastoral communities who live next to wildlife lose at least one animal every week to predatory wildlife. An incident in 2019 saw a herd of elephants invading farms and destroying crops, such as vegetables, bananas and maize in Kavilila village in Subukia, Nakuru County. The residents incurred losses of at least Sh2 million (USD$18 000) and they had to relocate their homes to a more secure place.

Recently, a leading elephant expert, Dr Winnie Kiiru, who works with the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation, was interviewed by the BBC News regarding the elephant baby boom in Kenya. She emphasised that it is necessary to diversify livelihoods and ensure that communities dependent on wildlife can earn despite the effects on tourism. She also called on African governments to solve the human-wildlife conflicts effectively, as well as to raise money to repair the damage on the conservation industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Global Wildlife Conservation, a biodiversity conservation organisation, has announced that the Somali sengi, a mouse-sized elephant shrew that had been lost to science for 50 years, has been rediscovered by scientists on an expedition to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

The Somali elephant shrew, or the Somali sengi, is related to aardvarks, elephants and manatees but is only a few inches in size. It eats insects with its long, trunk-like nose and it mates for life. It had been lost to science since 1968, but was recently rediscovered. 

A paper published in the journal PeerJ announced the rediscovery of the Somali sengi in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. The tiny animal is one of Global Wildlife Conservation’s 25 most wanted lost species. It is extremely rare and is known to science from only 39 individuals collected up to hundreds of years ago. 

Steven Heritage, a research scientist at the Duke University Lemur Center and lead author of the paper, says, “Sengi biology is a science of passion. It takes somebody that’s motivated by passion for sengis to go out looking for this lost species. They are not well-known animals, but when you see them, it’s impossible not to adore them.”

In 2019, a team of scientists- including Heritage, legendary sengi researcher, the late Galen Rathbun from the California Academy of Sciences and Houssein Rayaleh from Association Djibouti Nature, went out in search of the mammal. Although the species was previously known to be only in Somalia, the team had received tips that it could be in Djibouti. Local Djiboutian people were able to identify the animal from a series of photographs during interviews. 

Using information from the interviews, results from scat analysis, and the knowledge that the sengis would need some sort of shelter from raptors looking for a meal, they set a total of 1 259 traps at 12 locations, baiting the traps with a concoction of peanut butter, oatmeal and yeast. They caught a Somali sengi- distinguished by a tuft of fur on its tail- in the very first trap they set.

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In total the team saw 12 sengis during their expedition and obtained the first-ever photos and video of live Somali sengis for scientific documentation. They did not witness any looming threats to the species’ habitat, which is dry and largely inhospitable to human activities such as development or agriculture. Because the abundance of the species seems about the same as other sengi taxa and because they were able to determine that its range extends beyond just Somalia into Djibouti (and possibly even Ethiopia), they were able to make a recommendation to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species that the Somali sengi’s current data deficient status get updated to least concern.

One of the most significant findings from the rediscovery of the Somali elephant shrew comes from DNA analysis that shows that the Somali sengi’s lineage is most closely related to sengis that live as far away as Morocco and South Africa. This places them not in the Elephantulus genus, as believed historically, but instead in a newly named genus called Galegeeska. This means that the Somali sengi has somehow dispersed across great distances over time.

Heritage and Rayaleh plan to launch another expedition in 2022 to GPS radio-tag individual sengis to determine how they use their space, how pairs share their space, whether they are most active at night or during the day and under what conditions they are most active. Future efforts will also include research to figure out which other countries they live in and setting up a monitoring program to ensure the population sizes remain stable.  

Rayleigh says, “For us living in Djibouti, and by extension the Horn of Africa, we never considered the sengis to be ‘lost,’ but this new research does bring the Somali sengi back into the scientific community, which we value. For Djibouti this is an important story that highlights the great biodiversity of the country and the region and shows that there are opportunities for new science and research here.”

Global Wildlife Conservation

GWC conserves biodiversity on Earth through the safeguarding of wildlands and wildlife protection. It engages in biodiversity exploration, habitat conservation, protected area management, wildlife crime prevention and endangered species recovery. For more information, visit https://globalwildlife.org

On July 31, Earth.Org reported that the president of Cameroon had approved a logging concession in the Ebo Forest that would threaten the species living there. Now, nearly three weeks after the fact, President Paul Biya has withdrawn the decree and has suspended the process for a second concession to log 170 000 acres of forest land. Conservationists are hopeful that the government will embark on an inclusive land-use planning process with local communities to determine the future of Ebo Forest.

Ebo Forest is the ancestral land of more than 40 communities and remains one of the last intact forests in central Africa. Besides being a biodiversity hotspot, the local Banen communities depend on Ebo Forest for food and traditional medicines so any non-consensual development of the forest would heavily affect them. Before Cameroon’s independence in 1960, many communities lived in the forest and their patriarchs and matriarchs are buried there.

The Cameroonian government had signed an international agreement to protect gorillas and their habitats July 20, but two days later it issued a decree establishing a logging concession in Ebo Forest. 

Ebo Forest is a hotspot for conservation research and discoveries. The forest provides critical habitat for many species of endangered primates including gorillas, chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys. Researchers believe that the small population of gorillas in Ebo may be a new subspecies because they are geographically distinct from other populations of western lowland and cross river gorillas. In 2005, researchers discovered that the tool-wielding Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees in Ebo Forest are culturally distinct from any other group of chimpanzees in Africa and are the only chimpanzees to use tools to both fish for termites and crack hard-shelled nuts.

“The president’s intervention to halt the imminent destruction of this unique forest is hugely welcome,” said Bethan Morgan, San Diego Zoo Global’s Central Africa Program head, who has been working to conserve the great apes of Ebo since she first observed gorillas there in 2002. “We hope that the international community will seize this opportunity to work with the government of Cameroon to make Ebo a showcase for long-term conservation in harmony with very challenged communities. These communities have been responsible for the preservation of the treasures of Ebo to date, and an inclusive land-use planning process is now needed to fully share information in order to make clear and calculated judgements about the future of the forest and its people.”

Ebo Forest makes up half of the Yabassi Key Biodiversity Area, making it a site of global importance to the planet’s overall health and the persistence of biodiversity. It sequesters 35 million tons of carbon. Botanical survey efforts, supported by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with Herbier National Camerounais, have resulted in the discovery of 29 species new to science, and the area is known to contain 52 globally threatened species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The forest is also a proposed tropical Important Plant Area.

Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry signed two orders on February 4, proposing the classification of two forestry management units for timber extraction in Ebo Forest. The units would have destroyed the entire gorilla habitat and would have leveled the western part of the forest. The orders were posted publicly on March 9, but that did not give the local communities living around Ebo sufficient time and opportunity to provide their input.

In April, more than 60 conservationists, including experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s Primate Specialist Group and Global Wildlife Conservation, signed a letter to Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Ngute, asking that the plans for the logging concessions be put on hold and the government work with local communities to develop a sustainable land-use plan. They argued that adopting a more inclusive process would signal to Cameroon’s international partners that the government intends to honour its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Chief Victor Yetina of Ndikbassogog and a representative of the Association Munen Retour aux Sources, and Ekwoge Abwe, manager of the San Diego Zoo Central Africa Program’s Ebo Forest Research Project, issued a joint statement following the news:  “We welcome the suspension for now of logging plans in Ebo Forest, but are concerned that its fate remains unclear. This decision must be the first step toward recognition of Banen’s rights and forest protection. We call on the government of Cameroon to adhere to its international commitments, and to promote participatory mapping and land-use planning with local communities. Land tenure reform must have at its core the full recognition of communities’ rights. We also call on international donors and NGOs to support these processes with technical expertise and resources, both in Ebo Forest and across the Congo Basin.”

Featured image by: Laurent de Walick

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are unable to resolve a dispute over water rights amid the development of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Addis Ababa on the Blue Nile river. Seasonal rains are starting to fill the dam, which is set to become Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant and two-thirds of the dam has already been built, prompting researchers to urge the countries to move faster to resolve the conflict. 

What is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam?

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam able to hold approximately 4 billion cubic meters of water, which constitutes more volume of water than the entire Blue Nile. 

Benefits of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Half a century in the making, the US$4.8 billion project is a source of national pride as it will be able to generate 6 000 megawatts of electricity to tens of millions of Ethiopians. The infrastructure, which was paid for through taxes, promises reliable electric power, a boost for industry and new jobs, components which are critical to nearly half of the country’s population who lack access to electricity. 

Problems of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

For Egypt, however, the dam is raising concerns over how it will affect the Nile River. Over 90% of Egypt’s nearly 100 million people live along or around the Nile, which supplies most of the country’s water. Egypt fears the dam will disrupt the Nile’s flow of water, particularly during times of drought, affecting the lives of many who depend on it. Currently, only Egypt and neighbour Sudan have any rights to its water, further complicating efforts at diplomacy. However, this control depends on what comes downstream, over which it has no control. 

Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan are currently unable to reach an agreement on how to share the water among the three countries, the measures that should be enforced to protect the Nile’s flow of water, and what will happen in the event of a drought. 

The nations have resolved some key issues, however, including the volume of water and time needed to complete the fill. However, there is still disagreement as to what would happen in the event of a drought, as well as some other technical and legal issues. 

In the case of a drought year, the filling period would extend to seven years, but they have yet to agree on what to do in this case. The countries have agreed that when the flow of Nile water to the dam falls below 35 to 40 billion cubic meters per year, that would constitute a drought. In such an event, Egypt and Sudan want Ethiopia to release some of the water in the dam’s reservoir. Representatives of both countries say that this would still allow Ethiopia to continue generating electricity, but Ethiopia wants the flexibility to decide how much water to release during drought conditions because more water equates to more power per unit of water. 

On July 15, Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister of water and irrigation, is reported to have said on state television that “the filling of the dam doesn’t need to wait until the completion of the dam,” leading many to believe that Ethiopia has begun filling the dam. However, the government clarified that the flow of water into the reservoir was because of heavy rainfall and runoff.

Egypt has previously said that if Ethiopia needs electric power, then it should involve a third party, such as the World Bank, in financing Ethiopian power stations. Alternatively, Egypt could potentially share electricity with Ethiopia, similar to its arrangements with Sudan. Egypt says, “One nation’s need for electricity is pinned to another nation’s need for water.” 

An Attempt at Diplomacy 

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have been engaged in years of negotiations and talks which have failed to produce a deal that satisfies the three nations.

On June 26, following another round of negotiations, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan pledged to reach a deal within two weeks- in which Ethiopia agreed to withhold from filling the dam during the period. As July and August are regarded as the summer’s ‘rainy season’, Ethiopia is eager to start filling the reservoir in order to maximise utilisation of the forthcoming rain. From the perspective of the Ethiopian government, if it misses the summer’s rainy season, the country would have to wait another year to start filling and operating the dam. 

Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian prime minister, stated his country was ready to “mobilise millions” in order to defend the dam, while Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian president, stressed Egypt would do anything to protect the rights of the Nile river. In the past, Egypt has said that any attempt by upstream nations to take what it regarded as Egyptian water would result in war. 

An official water-sharing agreement does not exist between Ethiopia and Egypt. Under the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between Egypt and Sudan, Egypt extracts 55.5 billion cubic meters of water from the Nile annually, and Sudan 18.5 billion. This agreement was established not long before Egypt began constructing the Aswan High Dam, the country’s own ‘mega dam’. Ethiopia, however, was excluded from the negotiations that constructed the agreement, and for that reason, does not recognise it. 

Egypt Threatens Ethiopia?

The tension between the countries has been described as toxic- Egypt has accused Ethiopia of stealing their water supply with the intention of drying up their country, and Ethiopia has portrayed Egypt as a neo colonial power treading on national sovereignty

Egypt wants to establish a thorough deal to mediate the filling and operation of the dam that would include agreed upon drought mitigation measures. 

In February, Ethiopia dismissed an agreement produced by the US and the World Bank, following talks in Washington, on the premise that the deal was biased towards Egypt.   

Ethiopia has previously stated that it will ‘cause no significant harm’ however dismissed the notion of being bound by agreements that could govern how it operates the dam. William Davison, Ethiopia analyst at the International Crisis Group, says, “Ethiopia feels no compulsion to sign anything that could potentially disadvantage it in the future” and that “Egypt and Sudan on the other side want something that is as detailed and as binding and long-lasting as possible.”   

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UN Involvement in Pressing for a Deal

In May, Egypt sought help from the UN Security Council to press Ethiopia to produce a deal. Sameh Shoukry, the foreign minister of Egypt, said in a speech to the Security Council, “the unilateral filling and operation of this dam, without an agreement that includes the necessary precautions to protect downstream communities . . . would heighten tensions and could provoke crises and conflicts that further destabilise an already troubled region.”

Egypt wants the final deal to have the status of any other international treaty, and would prefer a third party, such as the Afircan Union (AU) or UN, to intervene should any disputes arise. Ethiopia, on the other hand, wants disagreements to be settled between the riparian states without the involvement of foreign parties.

Latest Update 

Talks resumed over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on August 3, but there are no updates as of yet. Follow Earth.Org for updates.

Featured image by: Hailefida

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