Investments in African Schools, Health and Other Infrastructure Exposed to Climate Risks

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Investments in African schools, healthcare and other infrastructure are at risk from the long-term impacts of global warming because governments and businesses are not considering climate information in their plans, researchers have warned.

They looked at how climate predictions starting from five years to decades ahead were used in Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia and the coastal cities of Accra in Ghana and Maputo in Mozambique, as well as by planners of large African dams and ports.

In a report, they concluded that “very few long-term decision-making processes” draw on climate information.

“African decision makers are overwhelmed by a large number of immediate, short-term development needs and this can eclipse longer-term concerns,” Lindsey Jones, one of the authors, with the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) said in an email.

“However, even some short-term interventions today, like designing healthcare systems, could have consequences far in the future,” he added.

If planners did try to use climate information, it was either basic or not acted upon, Jones said.

One problem is that the scientists who produce climate information often communicate in a way that is too technical and ill-matched to practical needs in sectors such as transport, food security, agriculture, energy and health, the report said.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

Education, Health Care