n African Security Review - From the West to the rest : climate change as a challenge to human security in Africa : feature

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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To date, most of the work on climate change has focused on mitigation and adaptation strategies to address its causes and consequences to the environment. Some commentators have expanded the debate by arguing for the promotion of sustainable development and poverty reduction. However, there is need to also focus on the human dimension in the climate change discourse. Therefore, this discussion seeks to contribute a more nuanced understanding of the problem through a victim (human security) oriented approach to combat climate change.

The central argument is that there must be a deliberate reframing of the climate change debate in terms of human security, which is anchored in human rights doctrine. The shared human rights framework entitles and empowers developing countries to safeguard their rights when they are endangered. Investment in emission reduction is a bargain compared to the long-term costs of inaction. It is essential to act now to prevent catastrophic impacts, rather than adopt a business as usual approach and face terrible consequences later. Africa should take the lead, as populations in developing countries on the African continent will bear the brunt of climate change impact.

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