Fewer children, fewer climate risks? Niger ponders a controversial option

(Reuters News, 7 Oct 2019) In a nation with the world's highest birth rate and growing risks to food and water security from climate change, reducing births may be one way to adapt.

Abdulaziz, Aminatu, Absatu, Abdulmanaf. Fahad. And, well, also Mansour. They are the names Zeinab Garba has in mind for any future children she has.

But for now the mother of two has decided to set aside plans for more offspring by using a contraceptive, to give a better future to Rachid, her restless 3-year-old boy, and her newborn son Bilyaminou, mostly a passionate sleeper for now.

"I'm proud to wear the (contraceptive) implant," said Garba, 20.

In a country with the world's highest birth rate per woman, hers is an uncommon move and, to some, a controversial one.

But environmentalists and youth activists in Niger hope it is one more families will embrace, to help reduce threats from the destructive effects of a changing climate.

Climate change has meant Niger has seen a swift rise in temperatures and less abundant water flows in rivers, in addition to more intense droughts and floods, said Issa Lele, a meteorologist with the United Nations Development Programme.

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Reuters News, 7 Oct 2019: Fewer children, fewer climate risks? Niger ponders a controversial option