AFRICA ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK
Past, present and future perspectives

CHALLENGES OF REDUCING HUMAN VULNERABILITY

In order to effectively reduce human vulnerability and increase security in anticipation of, during or after adverse environmental change, policies need to be adopted which adequately address environmental issues at national, sub-regional, regional and global levels, as well as enhance their implementation. These policies will:

African countries are party to various policy instruments at global, regional, sub-regional and national levels. However, compliance and implementation with these instruments of environmental management and policy are, in many instances, ineffective (see Chapter 5). This is an indication of policy failures which have to be addressed if Africa is to move towards sustainable development. Policy failures can contribute to increased human vulnerability to environmental change. This can be due to inaction on the part of authorities, unsustainable policies, poor implementation of existing policies or insufficient human and financial resources to give effect to policies. Lack of expertise, an absence of political will, other state spending priorities and the so-called ‘brain drain’ can all contribute to non-effectiveness of policy.

Consequently, there is absolute need to strengthen policy implementation measures at community, national, sub-regional and regional levels. This certainly calls for support at global level, but the responsibility is that of governments, through the necessary political will and commitment, and in cooperation with their subregional and regional organizations.

African governments should assume their responsibilities to reduce human vulnerability and increase security by lowering risk and enhancing coping capacities. This will require: