Time to adjust our lenses?



Two CoPs or Conferences of Parties were held in November 2022—the United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Egypt and the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Conference of Parties in Panama. With science having clarified that the window for decisive, effective climate action is steadily closing, one potentially encouraging outcome of the Climate Change CoP 27 is the agreement for the creation of a historic fund to compensate vulnerable nations for ‘loss and damage’ from climate-induced chaos. Many critics, however, have lambasted the Climate Change CoP 27 (Global Witness 2022) and it remains to be seen what assistance will be provided by the global north to countries such as Madagascar (Aljazeera 2022), where the island’s semi-arid southern region has been suffering from what the UN (2022) refers to as possibly the “world’s first climate change-induced famine”. While the UN’s World Food Programme and a bevy of smaller NGOs and charities have been hard at work to provide both immediate relief and longer-term preparations to help impacted communities cope with climate-induced shocks and other difficulties, now is the time for the government—in the spirit of the exquisite Malagasy concept of fihavanana (cf. Madaliving 2022)—to adopt a proactive stance when it comes to completing further work on pipelines to transport more water into the heart of the southern Malagasy sub-desert (Saholiarisoa 2019). The resources are there. It is also timely for the government to step up efforts directed at dealing with factors other than climate change that have contributed significantly to the scenario presented on international media during the past 4 years (World Weather Attribution 2021, see also video DW Documentary 2022).



Adams, N. 2022. The Tragedy of Madagascar. An Island Nation Confronts the 21st Century. John Hunt Publishing Ltd, London.

Aljazeera. 2022. ‘Not enough for people and planet’: Critics denounce COP27 deal. Available online 20 November 2022. <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/11/20/not-enough-for-people-and-planet-critics-denounce-cop27-deal>

Andrianambinina, F. O. D., Waeber, P. O., Schuurman, D., Lowry II, P. P. and Wilmé, L. 2022. Clarification on protected area management efforts in Madagascar during periods of heightened uncertainty and instability. Madagascar Conservation & Development 17, 1: 25–28. <http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/mcd.v17i1.7>

Butler, R. 2010. Madagascar’s president linked to illegal logging (video) by Wildmadagascar.org on 5 November 2010. Mongabay. Available online <https://news.mongabay.com/2010/11/madagascars-president-linked-to-illegal-logging-video/>

Caramel, L. 2022. Move it, move it? Madagascar wants to make the film's (non-native) animals a tourist attraction. Le Monde 3 November 2022. Available online <https://www.lemonde.fr/en/le-monde-africa/article/2022/11/03/move-it-move-it-madagascar-wants-to-make-the-film-s-non-native-animals-a-tourist-attraction_6002862_124.html>

Eklund, J., Jones, J. P. G., Räsänen, M., Geldmann, J., Jokinen, A.-P., et al. 2022. Elevated fires during COVID-19 lockdown and the vulnerability of protected areas. Nature Sustainability 5: 603–609. <https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-022-00884-x>

Global Witness. 2022. Our verdict on COP27: A polluters’ parade. Blog 21 Nov. 2022. Available online <https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/our-verdict-on-cop27-a-polluters-parade/>

Madaliving 2022. <https://www.madaliving.com/post/word-of-the-day-fihavanana> for a definition of fihavanana.

Richard, A. 2022. The Sloth Lemur’s Song. Madagascar from the Deep Past to the Uncertain Present. The Univerity of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

Roberts, M. 2022. Will CITES finally act to protect rosewood this month? (commentary). Mongabay. Available online 4 November 2022 <https://news.mongabay.com/2022/11/will-cites-finally-act-to-protect-rosewood-this-month-commentary/>

Roberts, M. W., Schuurman, D., Lowry II, P. P., Ratsifandrihamanana, A. N. A., Waeber, P. O. and Wilmé, L. 2022. CITES must urgently take the steps to save Madagascar’s unique species of rosewood and ebony. Madagascar Conservation & Development 17, 1: 6–8. <http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/mcd.v17i1.2>

Saholiarisoa, A. F. 2019. Turning on the tap in Madagascar. UNICEF. Available online <https://www.unicef.org/stories/madagascar-daily-search-water-replaced-turning-tap>

Truscott, R. 2022. Madagascar: Fears world's smallest primate may have quietly gone extinct. RFI stories available online 17 September 2022 <https://allafrica.com/stories/202209190019.html>

UN (United Nations). 2022. Without climate action, extreme weather will trigger global humanitarian needs. UN News 25 February 2022. Available online <https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/02/1112742>

Vyawahare, M. 2022. World’s smallest primate is fading into extinction, scientists fear. Mongabay. Available online 29 September 2022 <https://news.mongabay.com/2022/09/worlds-smallest-primate-is-fading-into-extinction-scientists-fear/>

World Weather Attribution. 2021. Factors other than climate change are the main drivers of recent food insecurity in Southern Madagascar. Available online 1 December 2021 <https://www.worldweatherattribution.org/factors-other-than-climate-change-are-the-main-drivers-of-recent-food-insecurity-in-southern-madagascar/>

Critically Endangered Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur Microcebus berthae is Man’s tiniest relative. Photo courtesy of Mike Lowings