Ban says climate change no longer a speculation

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has urged the international community as a whole to rise to the challenges that global warming poses and take appropriate measures.
"This climate change from global warming is a very serious and urgent issue to which the international community must pay attention.
It is a very imminent problem.
It is no longer a speculation," Ban said Tuesday at a press conference he held on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Summit.
Climate change and global warming was part of the agenda of the Eighth Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly that centred on the application of science and technology in Africa's development endeavours.
"It was very timely and appropriate that the AU summoned a meeting to discuss this topic.
The UN together with other members of the international community has taken a leading role in climate change issues," he said, urging the whole world to look for and be prepared for the measures to be taken beyond 2012.
"As Secretary-General I'll always take the highest priority and I'll speak about this issue with leaders of the international community in order to have concrete measures moving on," he added.
Meanwhile, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has called on African governments and farmers to step up all activities related to water control in order to address the adverse effects of climate change.
"When it comes to climate change, Africa has already witnessed the consequences.
We have seen drought in southern Africa where we had to rush US$2 billion worth of food aid and now we see it in the Horn of Africa and parts of West Africa," Diouf told PANA.
"The first manifestation of this climate change is the number and severity of droughts throughout the continent.
"Looking at current projections, it is expected that if we don't take immediate action, the area of Africa that is under rain-fed conditions for plants to grow, it will expand from about 50 million hectares to 90 million hectares.
This is the area with the highest risk in terms of agricultural production," he said.
Diouf suggested water control measures in Africa to include small-scale water harvesting, irrigation and draining systems at village level, construction of small wells and canals that would take surface water to where it can be used for farm production.
Along with such measures, the FAO chief said existing dams and large irrigation systems that were built at a huge cost and now lying idle must be rehabilitated.
"It is important to encourage African leaders and farmers to make use of the water resource that is available in abundance in their countries," he said, noting that only 7 percent of the continent's arable land was presently irrigated.
In sub-Saharan Africa, he said, only 4 percent of arable land was under irrigation.
As a result, Africa uses only 3.
5 percent of its renewable water resources compared to nearly 15 percent of Asia's water used for irrigation.
When it comes to the application of science and technology in Africa, Diouf said: "It is essential to implement what has been achieved in other parts of the world.
" Underlining the importance of research in agriculture and animal production, he explained that science and technology requires the effective use of high-yielding crop varieties, adequate fertilizer and integrated best management to fight both plant and livestock diseases.
He said research programmes undertaken in Africa must take to the farmers more effective technologies that would make them more productive and more competitive.
"We have seen that through implementation of good policies on water management, crop diversification not only in animal farming but also aquaculture, the agriculture industry in some countries has recorded a 5 to 6 percent growth per annum in the last five years," said Diouf.
He mentioned Burkina Faso as a success story.
Despite its harsh environment and bordering the Sahara, the West African country has started exporting to Europe vegetables grown on soils that were in the past regarded as unproductive.

30 january 2007 13:20:00

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