As we enter the final decade of the Sustainable Development Goals, the environmental domain, as vital as it is in its influence on the entire system, is under increasing pressure from anthropogenic sources. The most serious threat is anthropogenic climate change, a deeply troubling issue that threatens the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of countries around the world, particularly in Africa. Far from being an abstract concept, climate change is now having real impacts on coastal and forest ecosystems, oceans, freshwater supplies, biodiversity and even human health.
While climate change is a major challenge requiring concerted action, the world has also faced multiple other anthropogenic environmental problems for decades. These problems have the potential to compromise the very basis of life across all ecosystems, including the biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere and even the anthroposphere. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, destruction and modification of habitats and ecosystems, severe declines in plant and animal populations; plastic waste management in particular; and toxic chemicals continue to threaten the integrity and health of vulnerable natural systems essential to human life. The waste and pollution produced by our increasing consumerism threaten the health of all ecosystems and human health.
Countries are struggling to balance the economic needs and aspirations of their growing populations with the preservation of healthy environments and natural systems. Our ability to work together to address these threats, to develop concerted and sustainable solutions, and to bring about joint implementation of internationally agreed political commitments will determine the future of all humanity.
In order to contribute to and support African countries in addressing these environmental challenges, the African Environmental Network has eight programs as follows