Climate change and the global South

The countries of the global South are especially affected by climate change, even though they contribute comparatively little to global greenhouse gas emissions.  

One example is Senegal: A large part of the population earns its living in agriculture and fishing. But exactly these economic sectors, which are so important, are severely affected by climate change. As a result of climate change, periods of drought are increasing, further exacerbating the already very difficult conditions for agriculture and leading to crop failures and even total crop failure. The longed-for rain is falling more and more frequently in the form of heavy rain events, such as in August 2021, when flooding caused severe damage in many parts of the country.  

The marine ecosystem is also suffering the effects of climate change, and along with it fisheries, which account for around 15 per cent of Senegal’s working population: Global warming is leading to altered ocean currents, causing large schools of fish to change their routes. In addition, there is overfishing – also a result of international fishing agreements from which mainly the countries of the global north, including the European Union, benefit.  

More than half of Senegal’s population lives in coastal regions, where entire swaths of land are falling victim to rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Combined with rapidly advancing soil salinization, storms and loss of biodiversity, people are being deprived of their livelihoods.  

As a result, more and more people from rural regions are being forced to migrate to the cities. But even there are hardly any perspectives – what remains is often the hope of a better life in Europe. Thus, climate change is increasingly becoming the driving factor for migration movements from the African continent to more temperate climatic zones.