UNDP

Programme d’Appui à l’adaptation aux changements climatiques dans les communes les plus vulnérables des régions de Mopti et Tombouctou

Climate change has led to a marked degradation of the regions of Mopti and Timbuktu which will not be able to recover unless serious measures of adjustment are taken. For West Africa, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) forecasts an average increase in temperature of 3.3°C by the year 2100, which could increase to 4.7°C in the northern half of Mali. Climate change is expected to increase the unpredictability and impact of extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods and heavy rainfall, but also damage caused by insects.

Today, 59.5% of the population of Mopti and Timbuktu live on degraded land and only 29.2% have access to water of satisfactory quality. The decrease in water flow, combined with erosion and sand encroachment, hampers the flow of water into the greater part of the Niger Delta, thus threatening fishing, agriculture and pastoral activities. The Delta - and in particular the Niger River - is marked by not just a decrease in water flow (a fall of 25% in the course of a century), but also by a continuous reduction in the area flooded every year, which has shrunk by 60% in 50 years.

 

Many communities have consequently been forced to abandon their traditional means of subsistence, while the nomadic groups are becoming settled in order to cultivate the land or benefit from development programmes. Agriculture and fishing are consequently being replaced by pasture on land that is already poor and can be used only during the short rainy season. The decrease in crop yields has already led local people to adopt unsustainable strategies to adapt to circumstances, including reducing the quantity and quality of meals. It is estimated that during the past 10 years 200,000 people have migrated away from the region.

The second-highest prevalence of severe malnutrition in the country has also been recorded in the Mopti region. According to future models, the impact of the decrease in water availability will lead to a general reduction in agricultural production in Mali of around 15 to 20%, and in particular a decrease in millet and sorghum yields of 30 to 40% by 2050.

The scenarios also predict demographic growth of 16 to 27 million people by 2030, seriously affecting the capacity of natural resources to meet demand, as well as increasing the environmental footprint. A simulation exercise (based on an increase in temperature of between 1 and 2.75°C, without any measures of adaptation) suggests that a decrease in the cereal harvest would translate into the doubling of the price of food products in Mali by 2030. The population could not withstand this and it could lead to big protest movements of the "hunger-riot" type that we saw in 2008.