NewsSouthern AfricaClimate Change: Tomorrow will already be too late - President Gurib-Fakim


Posted on Monday, 20 June 2016 13:05

Climate Change: Tomorrow will already be too late - President Gurib-Fakim

President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-FakimClimate change, which will affect rainfall patterns and make sea levels rise, is a reality and impacting on people's livelihoods globally, Mauritius President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has said.

It is estimated that climate change has already cost the global economy $2 trillion over the last 20 years and it is the poorest and most vulnerable countries that bear the brunt.

We have been too complacent and have to reverse the trend

Addressing the Women's Forum in Mauritius this week, the Mauritian President told close to 400 delegates that small islands have been experiencing flash floods with negative impacts on agricultural land.

"These environmental changes impact dire economic changes for the country and our health will be threatened and socio-economic losses would increase," Gurib-Fakim said, adding "the stakes are high."

The World health Organisation (WHO) estimates that climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths, with increases in and diseases like cholera and dengue.

For the next two days, participants will be debating climate and health solutions; how to advance innovation in agriculture, health and land use; improving the participation of women and youth in scientific and technological training.

Sustainable energy and water and sanitation for Africa and Small Islands Developing States would also be under discussion.

Women's Forum for the Economy and Society official, Jacqueline Franjou said participants "will look at strategies to improve public health and maximise opportunities for renewal energy for small island states".

Julius Akinyemi of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's media lab, told delegates that Africa has to invest in the future of Africa, and that starts with educating young people, especially girls.

"The key element is that we need to put our heads together and create our own future and the only way we can solve climate problems, is to invest in women," Akinyemi said.

Akinyemi said more than 50 per cent of sub-Saharan are women and Africa cannot meet its targets without including females in the economy.

"We need to create equal access. Innovation has to create jobs and opportunities for everyone."

Gurib-Fakim added: "We have been too complacent and have to reverse the trend because tomorrow will already be too late."

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