In 2018, the state of informal settlements in Namibia was considered a humanitarian crisis, and in 2019, following six years of drought, a state of emergency was declared. The situation is serious. Growth of informal settlements (between 7-11% per annum) coupled with exposure to climate-induced hazards (e.g. Drought, rising temperatures, falling dam levels, localized flash flooding), continues to erode basic infrastructure, public services, and ecosystems, while entrenching inequalities.
As a Research Coordinator for the Urban Ecolution project in Tanzania, I was given the opportunity to explore resident opinions and experiences in the peri-urban areas of Tanzania’s busiest city, Dar es Salaam. I had a special focus on Urban Green Infrastructure. Having grown up in Dar es Salaam, I have personally witnessed the rapid changes that have taken place in the city over the past two decades. In addition, as a resident of the city’s low-lying area of Kigogo which sits next the Msimbazi River valley, my family and I have sometimes encountered the challenges of floods and other climate-related hazards.
This year’s United Nations climate conference (COP25) underway in Madrid has been overshadowed by social unrest. Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera withdrew from hosting the annual conference following a wave of public demonstrations over economic inequality in his country. Similar protests occurred across the globe throughout 2019, fuelled by public anger over inequality, corruption and economic challenges. The linkages between the world’s inequality and climate change crises have become increasingly visible, as the climate crisis is mainly a battle about redefining winners and losers. Britta Rennkamp explores what this means for African development.