As the world grapples with the climate change’s increasing impacts underscored by the IPCC’s 2022 report that highlighted the need for rapid and accelerated action on climate adaptation and resilience to avoid significant impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities – urgent action is most needed in Africa where climate change’s impacts will be acutely felt.
At the forefront of these impacts will be those on water and health systems where extreme weather patterns will lead to increasing incidences of droughts and floods creating greater water insecurity for populations, while also directly impacting food systems and human health. It is estimated that by 2030 over 3 billion people will be at risk of water insecurity, and another 1.6 million will be at risk of flooding. Of these 220 million children and their families in Africa are water insecure, leading them to likely miss school due to the need to fetch water, suffer malnutrition and stunting due to droughts that impact agricultural food systems, or get sick due to water contamination.
These challenges also pose opportunities for the continent to implement resilient sustainable development adopting innovations, practices, and policies to both adapt and thrive in the face of climate change. At the core of these innovations will be the role that businesses can play whether through direct investments and/or innovative practices that lead to a more resilient water world.