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FILM: Adaptation Voices – Dr Jacqueline Uku, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association

“The biggest challenge Africa has is that we are yet to document all that we have. And this poses a risk because we will lose biodiversity and we do not even know what we had in the first place” – Dr Jacqueline Uku, President of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association and a seagrass scientist, has told CDKN in an exclusive interview.

Africa’s diverse biological resources sustain human societies, with vast benefits across localities, regions and the world. However, a lethal mix of climate change impacts on ecosystems and unsustainable management of resources is driving biodiversity loss.

Climate impacts such as storms, higher temperatures, and ocean acidification are compounding the damages from environmental mismanagement, she argues: “In many cases when we talk about climate change in our region, it’s not just [increased] temperature increments that we see, but we have hand as human beings as driving… the impact in our ecosystems.” This includes “destructive fishing practices” and “overharvesting of predatory fish from the systems.”

However, stepped-up efforts to document and monitor the continent’s biodiversity will go a long way to understanding species richness and protecting it. Furthermore, Africa has inspiring, community-driven examples of ecosystem restoration, which are reaping benefits for local economies and for the climate.

Dr Uku describes a mangrove restoration project in Gazi Bay, Kenya that is attracting widespread attention and is beginning to be duplicated elsewhere on Kenya’s coast.

Watch the full video interview with Dr Jacqueline Uku:

This is one of six short video interviews that CDKN undertook with African adaptation experts to explore how the continent can accelerate adaptation. Find out more about the film series ‘Adaptation Voices’.

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact cdkn@southsouthnorth.org