Transport of firewood with donkey
With regard to the environmental situation, the main problem that should be emphasized is the increasing threat to agricultural production bases and natural vegetation, which affects large parts of the country. The expansion of arable land that can be observed in many places, increased soil erosion, increasing overgrazing, desertification and the largely uncontrolled (over) use of wood resources can be traced back to a multitude of ecological, social and economic causes, which are often closely linked. The main energy source is wood. The logging caused in many places severe ecological problems.
The use of pesticides in agriculture poses an increasing threat to people and the environment. In addition, the improper storage and disposal of pesticides causes considerable environmental problems, which the Africa Stockpiles Program has worked to solve.
According to ezinereligion, Mali is a country located in Western Africa. The Malian government has responded to the pressing environmental problems by signing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, drawing up a National Environmental Action Plan and initiating a number of resource conservation projects and reforestation programs. In addition, environmental policy has gained in importance, with very different measures being applied and considered. Simple measures against soil degradation are increasingly being used by the rural population, particularly in the particularly affected Sahel zone.
Progress can also be seen in the fight against bushfires, the establishment of rural timber markets and the use of solar energy. An increased use of cooking gas, which appears sensible from an ecological point of view, is made more difficult by the regular supply bottlenecks. So far, the government’s subsidization of the use of cooking gas has not done much to change this.
In protest against what, in their opinion, were the new draconian control measures of the state forest service, charcoal traders have temporarily stopped supplying the capital with charcoal several times since 2011, which led to a supply crisis in Bamako.
Successes achieved in the neighboring country Niger in promoting the natural regeneration of tree populations and in protecting giraffes could also prove to be of interest for Malian environmental policy.
Increasingly, ways are being explored to use renewable energies to meet the country’s increasing energy needs. Increased promotion of the use of physician oil as fuel could make an important contribution both to stabilizing the ecological situation (planting of physician bushes) and to reducing fuel imports. Several plants for the production of fuel based on physician oil are already working, are under construction or are in the planning stage. The use of ethanol from sugar cane processing is also planned.
The country’s first wind farm is to be built in Timbuktu. Photovoltaics are increasingly being used to generate electricity.
In the cities in particular, and especially in Bamako, the disposal of waste and sewage is causing serious problems, which also require a solution with a view to improving health conditions and river fishing. Wastewater from small-scale dye works and water hyacinths are also increasingly endangering water resources.
The challenge of climate change
In the past few decades, a clear climate change has been observed, particularly in northern and central Mali. This can be seen above all in the trend towards a decrease in the amount of rain, which has made agricultural use considerably more difficult. However, there have always been and are years with significantly above-average rainfall. Overall, the variability of precipitation and average temperatures have increased significantly in the past decades.
Although there are still many unanswered questions regarding the impact of current global climate change on Mali, the studies available goassume an increase in temperature and a further increase in the variability of precipitation. This would particularly affect agriculture, which will continue to be of central socio-economic importance for the vast majority of the population in the future.
In view of the possible effects of global climate change and the associated risks, a national strategy for adapting to climate change was adopted in 2011. Many of the measures proposed in the strategy have been known in Mali for a long time and have already been funded with the support of development cooperation in other contexts (examples: promoting the sustainable management of natural resources, diversification of agricultural production, introduction of more efficient irrigation techniques). Since the technical and organizational basis for the implementation of the strategy is already partially in place, the greatest challenge seems to be influencing behavior and action patterns the mostly rural target groups as well as in the financing of the proposed measures.
As part of development cooperation, for example, small projects are funded that are intended to make it easier for the population to adapt to changing climatic conditions, as well as advising political decision-makers.
With reference to climate change, the state development plans attach particular importance to the construction of further dams and the expansion of irrigation. The possible ecological and socio-economic effects resulting from this are assessed quite controversially.