Climate Change and Food Security in West Africa

2021 | Editors | A. A. Mbaye | J. von Braun | A. Mirzabaev | F. Gueye

Published as a compendium of papers presented at the conference on climate change and food security in West Africa, jointly organized by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn, and the WASCAL Climate Change Economics Graduate Studies Program, hosted by the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar.

Abstract

Climate change affects food security in West Africa in diverse and often complex ways. It not only affects food availability through its impacts on crop yields and livestock productivity, but also shifts in agricultural potentials due to climate change will have profound effects on crop and livestock choices and consequently on local food value chains. For many net food-buying households in the region, losses in crop yields and livestock productivity can often translate into reduced access to food due to higher food prices. Moreover, higher frequency of extreme weather events under changing climate, such as heatwaves, droughts, and floods, is already undermining the stability of West African food systems. Weather extremes are exacerbating the existing problems with food safety and nutritional security, posing particularly severe risks on the most vulnerable social groups. It is further projected that changing climatic conditions will facilitate the spread of infectious diseases in the region taking an increasing toll on nutritional security and human health.

This volume is unique as a source of the latest stateof-the-art research on climate change and its impacts on food security in West Africa, focusing not only on climate change impacts but even more also on innovative and cutting-edge solutions and insights for climate change adaptation and mitigation. This volume is also very timely and useful because it brings together the research by both experienced researchers and many highly promising early career climate change scientists from the region. The report clearly points to the large and growing climate science potential in West Africa, which we believe should be further supported but also properly reflected in international scientific collaborations on climate change, for example, by involving more African researchers in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other international scientific bodies.

There are three key takeaways from this volume:

  • West Africa is one of the regions in the world which are most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
  • However, there are numerous innovative solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation currently being experimented and deployed in the region.
  • Crucially, the region now possesses a strong cadre of young climate change researchers who undoubtedly will contribute to the climate resilient development in West Africa.

The report calls on the international community to expand and strengthen scientific collaborations and development cooperation on climate change with the region.

Read the full report here.