Climate Change and Migration

The Population of African Cities Will Be at Least Double, or Even Five Times Higher, in 2050

Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving

The ghettos in African cities are bursting at the seams.

New residents continuously come to the city from the countryside in search of work. It is estimated that 40 million people from the drylands in Africa, South America and Asia moved to the city for this reason between 2000 and 2010. But often there are no jobs in the cities either. Unemployment rises, as do cultural tensions. The lack of perspective in African cities can serve as a springboard for people to travel to Europe.

© PBL | Dryland Hotspots of Potential Migration Associated with Water Stress

Created in partnership with: Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving

Sustainable Green Communities Are the New Wonders of the Desert

Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving

There could be a new perspective for the drylands if problems are tackled both in rural areas and in cities.

Better land and water management is needed in the drylands along with an eco-system based reconstruction programme which contributes to a more healthy earth. Successful approaches involve local communities and include innovative solutions such as delivering a higher yield (more crop per drop). Some 60 kilometres northeast of Cairo, the fair trade company SEKEM proves this is possible. In a period of 40 years (1987-2027), this entrepreneur, together with the local population, will have created a fertile green community on a 70 hectare piece of desert land. The land produces food on a sustainable basis.

There is a growing imbalance between the rural production of mostly traditional crops and the rapidly increasing urban need for modern agricultural products. The city as a so-called agro-hub can offer opportunities for Africa. The idea comes from the African Studies Centre of the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, and connects development in the countryside and the city. To offer enough agricultural products, the agro-hub needs to combine innovation, concentrated-but-sustainable farming and the development of new plants and methods.

The new horticultural environment produces food for the city and provides work and incomes for the local population. Improvements in water supply, water security, sanitary and food services ensure that people see a fulfilling future for themselves in the city. Setting up agro-hubs requires an integrated system approach including land and water management. By implementing a wide range of innovations, the gap between the development of the city and rural areas can be bridged.

Created in partnership with: Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving

The Whole World Benefits from a Turnaround in North Africa

Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving

Good water management and timely use of groundwater are fundamental and can boost the agricultural sector. Thinking and working together with a shared vision can contribute towards creating better living conditions and economic perspectives for people in the drylands of Africa. This could also reduce migration.

There is a huge opportunity here for international organisations, experts, companies and other prominent parties. In fact, everyone benefits by working together on a largescale, ecologically-sound action plan for this region where the challenges are only going to increase.

Such a future is not a mirage. Standing in the desert in 1987, the founder of the sustainable community SEKEM looked around him and said: “I carry a vision deep within myself: in the midst of sand and desert, I see myself standing at a well drawing water.” That vision is now reality.