MAPPING OUT CHANGING ENVIRONMENT


Erle Frayne Argonza

Mapping out changing environment to constitute an atlas is a new, exciting area in geo- mapping.

Below is a recently launched atlas on Africa concerning changing environment, by the United Nations Environment Program.

[10 August 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila. Thanks to eldis.org database news.]

Africa: atlas of our changing environment

Produced by: United Nations [UN] Environment Programme (2008)

This African atlas is the first publication to use satellite photos to depict environmental change in each and every African country during the last thirty years. Through an array of satellite images, graphs, maps, and photographs, this Atlas presents a powerful testament to the adverse changes taking place on the African landscape as a result of intensified natural and human impacts.

The atlas is composed of three parts:

  1.  
    • the first part provides a comprehensive overview of Africa’s geographical attributes, highlighting issues such as land degradation and desertification, water stress, declining biodiversity, deforestation, increasing dust storms, rising pollution and rapid urbanisation
    • part two presents examples of transboundary environmental issues related to shared lands and waters, migrating animals and people, and pollutants that drift over borders of neighbouring countries. It highlights both emerging challenges and success stories in addressing these issues
    • part three contains brief profiles of every African country, their important environmental issues, and a description of how each is faring in terms of progress towards the targets under the UN’s Millennium Development Goal 7, which is to ensure environmental sustainability. “Before and after” satellite images from every country highlight specific places where change is particularly evident.

Observations and measurements of environmental change illustrated in this Atlas help gauge the extent of progress made by African countries towards reaching the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. It is argued that this book contributes to the knowledge and understanding that are essential for adaptation and remediation.

Available online at: http://www.eldis.org/cf/rdr/?doc=38210&em=310708&sub=enviro

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