Accessibility links

Population dynamics, climate change,and sustainable development in Africa

Population is growing more rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) than other regions of the world. Rapid population growth and climate change are speeding up the region’s environmental degradation. This makes people more vulnerable to climate change impacts and undermines sustainable development on the continent. Development efforts in several countries in SSA are harmed by a combination of high rates of  population growth, high projected declines in agricultural production and low resilience to climate change.

This report calls on governments, donors, and civil society to invest more in population and climate change work, to address the two issues together in policies and programmes, and to build the technical capacity to develop programs and research. The report contributes to understanding the role of population in sustainable development by analysing population, climate change and sustainable development links in SSA.  It also includes a summary of population, environment and climate change issues facing Malawi and Kenya, based on detailed country assessments for the two countries.

The following policy recommendations are made:

  • integrate policies and programmes to address climate change and mainstream it across development sectors.  This should include setting up strong coordination and governance systems
  • prioritise population in national climate change and development plans, with adequate resources for effective implementation of programmes, in particular climate change plans and programmes should include expanding access to family planning

  • improve technical capacity in programme design, research and application of research to decision-making processes

  • incorporate population, reproductive health and family planning into global and regional institutions and frameworks for sustainable development