Climate Change Adaptation through the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Southern Africa
Published: 19 October 2018
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,
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Climate change is a complex and cross-cutting problem that needs an integrated and transformative systems approach to respond to the challenge. Current sectoral approaches to climate change adaptation initiatives often create imbalances and retard sustainable development. Regional and international literature on climate change adaptation opportunities and challenges applicable to southern Africa from a water-energy-food (WEF) nexus perspective was reviewed. Specifically, this review highlights climate change impacts on water, energy, and food resources in southern Africa, while exploring mitigation and adaptation opportunities. The review further recommends strategies to develop cross-sectoral sustainable measures aimed at building resilient communities. Regional WEF nexus related institutions and legal frameworks were also reviewed to relate the WEF nexus to policy. Southern Africa is witnessing an increased frequency and intensity in climate change-associated extreme weather events, causing water, food, and energy insecurity. A projected reduction of 20% in annual rainfall by 2080 in southern Africa will only increase the regional socio-economic challenges. This is exacerbating regional resource scarcities and vulnerabilities. It will also have direct and indirect impacts on nutrition, human well-being, and health. Reduced agricultural production, lack of access to clean water, sanitation, and clean, sustainable energy are the major areas of concern. The region is already experiencing an upsurge of vector borne diseases (malaria and dengue fever), and water and food-borne diseases (cholera and diarrhoea). What is clear is that climate change impacts are cross-sectoral and multidimensional, and therefore require cross-sectoral mitigation and adaptation approaches. In this regard, a well-coordinated and integrated WEF nexus approach offers opportunities to build resilient systems, harmonise interventions, and mitigate trade-offs and hence improve sustainability. This would be achieved through greater resource mobilisation and coordination, policy convergence across sectors, and targeting nexus points in the landscape. The WEF nexus approach has potential to increase the resilience of marginalised communities in southern Africa by contributing towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, and 13).
Malaria impact of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa: maps, estimates and predictions
Published: 04 September 2015
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Background While there is growing recognition of the malaria impacts of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa, the cumulative malaria impact of reservoirs associated with current and future dam developments has not been quantified. The objective of this study was to estimate the current and predict the future impact of large dams on malaria in different eco-epidemiological settings across sub-Saharan Africa. Methods The locations of 1268 existing and 78 planned large dams in sub-Saharan Africa were mapped against the malaria stability index (stable, unstable and no malaria). The Plasmodium falciparum infection rate (PfIR) was determined for populations at different distances (<1, 1–2, 2–5, 5–9 km) from the associated reservoirs using the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP) and WorldPop databases. Results derived from MAP were verified by comparison with the results of detailed epidemiological studies conducted at 11 dams. Results Of the 1268 existing dams, 723 are located in malarious areas. Currently, about 15 million people live in close proximity (<5 km) to the reservoirs associated with these dams. A total of 1.1 million malaria cases annually are associated with them: 919,000 cases due to the presence of 416 dams in areas of unstable transmission and 204,000 cases due to the presence of 307 dams in areas of stable transmission. Of the 78 planned dams, 60 will be located in malarious areas and these will create an additional 56,000 cases annually. The variation in annual PfIR in communities as a function of distance from reservoirs was statistically significant in areas of unstable transmission but not in areas of stable transmission. Conclusion In sub-Saharan Africa, dams contribute significantly to malaria risk particularly in areas of unstable transmission. Additional malaria control measures are thus required to reduce the impact of dams on malaria.