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CCS Webinar: Climate change and conflict in Africa: A Reflection on COP 26

A reflection on COP 26
Speaker: Jean-Marc Akakpo
Facilitators: Andries Motau & Danford Chibvongodze 
Date: 17 March 2022
Time: 16:00-17:00 (SA Time) 
Zoom Link: 
Sub Saharan Africa is the fastest growing region in the world. Africa has been the fastest growing continent by population since the year 1967. The continent's annual population growth rate is very high, at 2.45 percent in 2021, and is projected to remain above 2 percent for the next 20 years. The population growth reached a peak in 1984, with an annual growth rate of 2.87%. This rapid growth comes with challenges related to climate change, water scarcity, and environmental refugees, just to name a few, which have led to an increase in conflicts in the region. The governments of these countries are overwhelmed and cannot keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of their countries. This presentation will explore the relationship between climate change, economy, population growth, migration, forced labor and refugees, water scarcity, health and conflict in Sub Saharan Africa. Further, it examines how the intersectionality of climate change and conflict in Africa has been debated and presented during Climate Change Conference 26 (COP 26). 
Scientists agree that human activities are the reason for climate change, specifically, the rise in both average world temperatures and the occurrence of extreme weather events. Climate change has led to water scarcity in some areas and flooding in others, which has reduced the amount of land available for farming and for meadows needed for pastoralists’ activities. The decreased access to land, increased illness, and worsening poverty have led to a decline in economic production and an increase in population displacement and refugee populations. These challenges have become a leading factor in the escalating number and intensity of conflicts in Africa. 

Speaker Bio:  
African-European Born and Raised; European and American Educated, Jean-Marc Akakpo has a Doctorate in Political Science and in International Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development. He is a Professor at Kennesaw State University. He is also Human Rights and International Affairs Professional and has Masters’ degrees in Public International Law, International Relations and Political Science, and has published articles on European Union climate policies, economic development in Africa and water scarcity and conflict on the Nile River. Jean-Marc is Representative/Member at International-Lawyers.Org (INTLawyers) at the United Nations and a member of the Roundtable on Peace and Health (Mali) at The Carter Center. He is specialized in Climate change, conflict, and human rights in West and Southern Africa. Jean-Marc Akakpo is United Nations’ Researchers at Salisbury University, Maryland, USA. 

Jean-Marc has experience working as a consultant for several United Nations Development Program projects. In 1998, he was the youngest Climate Change Expert invited to work for the European Union on the Technical Assistance Program for Communication and Information on Environmental Protection in West Africa. In 2018, he spent his summer working with the local government in Durban, South Africa. In 2019, he was appointed as an external scholar to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana. While in Durban and Accra, Jean-Marc taught courses on the impact of international financial organizations and international conflict resolution theories. Jean-Marc is certified with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), USA. He speaks several languages including French, German, Ewe and English. 

This Webinar is part of the March - April 2022 
Centre for Civil Society - Special Webinar Series 
Reflections on COP26 
Our Seminar Series remains online for 2022 - please join us for webinar discussions on the theme of COP26. 
The 2021 Climate Change Conference COP26 was focused on enhanced commitments towards mitigating climate change. COP26 resulted in the Glasgow Climate Pact focused on reducing the use of coal. COP26 was however also the site of major protest action in opposition to inadequate / weak measures proposed at the conference and a need for stronger resolutions to effectively deal with climate change. Young activists Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate and Malala Yousafzai for example, labelled COP26 a ‘Greenwash Campaign’. Join us as we engage with scholars and activists who attended the conference for their reflections on the climate change debate. 

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