In the face of climate change, we must act now and locally

At a panel about climate change, on the first day of the 8th Africities Summit in Marrakech, I met Yaya Boré. Yaya Boré, 63, a farmer, is the mayor of Dangol Boré, a city in northern Mali. Mr. Boré explained to me why his rural agglomeration of 38,000 inhabitants is in the frontline of climate change. “Our place is being hit hard by the effects of climate change. The start dates of the wintering season are becoming more and more irregular, which has a direct impact on the agricultural season, to which is added a sequence of early and overabundant rains that result in destructive floods. These floods are followed by periods of harsh droughts that impact agricultural production, threatening pastoral and fisheries resources.”

Mr. Boré outlined that these effects of climate change further weaken groups already vulnerable: small farmers and herders, young people, women. “These vulnerable groups are suffering even more from any bad climate decision – we must act now, and act locally.” His reasons for attending the 8th Africities summit, is to, “make human encounters, to receive experiences from other communities and exchange ours, because nothing can be done without the communities. Until now, the state and the major institutions have monopolized funds and the decisions how to implement them. The first victims of climate change did not have their (sic) words to say. Thanks to our partners in the local communities & Regional NGOs, we have begun to change this, notably by setting up a ‘Decentralization Climate Fund Project’, which allows us create decisions at the local level, while ensuring sources of financing for local projects that are compatible with climate issues.”

While his agglomeration is in an area that is still affected by the effects of the war in Mali, Mr. Boré ended by saying “Between war and climate, it is climate change that hurts us the most. War is reversible, if we do not act now, climate change disorder will hit us for ever.”

By Eros Sana