Managing Scarce Water in the Face of Global Climate Change: Preventing Conflict in the Horn of Africa
Scientists predict that global climate change will alter the planet in significant ways. Weather patterns will change, causing drought in some areas and increased precipitation leading to devastating flooding in others.
The United Nations, a significant number of governments, and many non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) have recognized the threat climate change poses to the planet and our ecosystems, however both mitigation efforts and adaptation strategies have been slow to materialize.
The effects of climate change on water access and supplies are of particular concern because, even without climate change-related stresses, access to clean water presents a significant challenge.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee recognized the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation in 2002, however this concept was only recently accepted by the U.N. General Assembly.
In 2001, the international community adopted the Millennium Development Goals, setting forth targets to improve access to clean drinking water and sanitation by 2015.
However, with less than five years remaining before
the deadline, there is little evidence that much progress has been made in the Horn of Africa.