Horn of Africa (Poster)

Promoting Environmental Security and Poverty Alleviation in the Horn of Africa

In the Horn of Africa, increasing scarcity and degradation of natural resources seriously threatens human well-being. The population in the region (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda) has increased fourfold in the past 50 years and continues to grow rapidly. The mounting need for fertile soils and irrigated land is intensified by high international demands for food and energy. Growing pressure on natural resources leads to a decrease in the quality and quantity of soils, forests and water resources.

The region contains many protected areas (forests, lakes, wetlands and grassland ecosystems) with high biological diversity, some of which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Not all protected areas are adequately guarded by the responsible authorities against the threats faced by increasing demands for land and wood, which seriously disturbs the hydrological, economic, social and cultural services these ecosystems provide. Land tenure systems, resource allocations and planning processes insufficiently take into account people?s needs and this whole set of ecosystem services. Overexploitation of wood, fish, farm lands and grazing lands can thus lead to tremendous forest degradation, biodiversity loss, land degradation and resource scarcity. This exacerbates food and water insecurity in many parts of the region. Deforestation, for instance, can heavily disturb climatic and hydrological regimes. This is demonstrated in the Mau Forest, Kenya's largest "water tower". Encroachment of the forest by thousands of farmers has caused profound forest degradation, heavily affecting millions of people in the wider region depending on the water for farming and pastoralism. 

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Author(s)Eric van de Giessen
PublisherInstitute for Environmental Security
Place publishedThe Hague
Date / Journal Vol No.13 January 2011


Scope Areas

Horn of Africa