By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – The environmental degradation, coupled with climate change is appearing a major cause of rising conflicts in East Africa, an Ethiopian ecological expert said on Monday.
Adefires Worku, who represented Ethiopia’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission, said there was an intrinsic link between the environment and the peace in the region.
He said the scarcer resources due to climate change are leading to frequent clashes between the tribal groups, who depend on cattle rearing.
“The tolerance that existed for a millennium between and among tribal groups, is no longer there,” he told representatives of UN groups, religious leaders and Ethiopian officials, who had gathered to mark the International Day of Peace.
Though, the day is observed every year on Sept. 21, a function was held in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia on Monday.
Worku also attributed cross border conflicts in Africa to the paucity of resources, due to ecological degradation.
He argued that ecological imbalances are also leading people to cross borders in Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan in search of resources.
The expert said a major reforestation program launched by Ethiopia with a target of planting four billion trees this season, was only a partial answer to the problem.
Head of the UN Environment Liaison Office Samba Harouna Thiam told the gathering that the effects of climate change are being markedly felt in Somalia, Chad and the Sahel region.
He said it was developing into a security challenge in these countries, as people are forced to compete for water and pastures.
Talking to Anadolu Agency, UNDP Resident Representative Turhan Saleh, said the developing nations must take burden to reverse climate change effects on people. He said they (developed nations) have achieved this development, using less clean ways and means.
“The developed nations should have an obligation to assist developing nations that suffer the most from the effects of climate change,” he said.