The World Bank says up to 143 million internal migrants will be forced to move within their own countries to escape the gradual effects of climate change by 2050.
The bank made this known in a paper presented at the African Climate Change Community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, organised by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The document made available in Abuja on Friday said that World Bank in a recent report indicated that the migrations would occur unless urgent action was taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The report said that globally, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) indicated that an average of 22.5 million people had been displaced each year by climate or weather-related disasters in the last seven years, equivalent to 62,000 people every day.
The report quoted Mr John Bideri, the Chairman, PACJA Board, as saying that climate change had weakened and it would continue to weakening African economies as countries struggled to counter its impacts.
He suggested that the only way to reverse the situation would be by reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, saying that the developed world must provide finances to help Africa cope with the prevailing situation, given that Africa had contributed the least toward emission of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We should continue playing our roles as African countries, but also demand for our rights.
“Already, Africa is experiencing higher warming and more extreme weather events, leading to disruptions in ecosystems, economies, livelihoods and causing food scarcity in many African countries,’’ he said.
Bideri said that the disruptions were in turn causing new insecurities in the populations of the continent leading to conflicts, displacements and disempowerment.
The report also quoted Mr Harsen Nyambe-Nyambe, of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission (AUC) observed that the cost of climate change to GDP was escalating due to reduced agricultural productivity and higher costs of adaptation.
He said that increases in temperature and rainfall reduction, associated with climate change would further reduce agricultural production and increase the demand for more land and water to compensate for climate stresses.
Nyambe-Nyambe said that various studies had shown that African agriculture was particularly vulnerable to climate change, adding that mitigation efforts were the only way to assist in alleviating the impacts on farmers and food security.
According to him, tackling climate change in Africa will work effectively, if efforts are first geared toward eliminating challenges faced by smallholder farmers across the continent.
The document called for strengthening of international response to large movements of refugees and protracted refugee situations, with 10 principles which address the effect of climate change on migration.