ECC Platform Library

 

Conservation and conflict: The Mafia Island Marine Park

Type of conflict main
Intensity 1
Region
Eastern Africa
Time 1995 ‐ ongoing
Countries Tanzania
Resources Fish, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Stability
Conflict Summary Since the establishment of the Mafia Island Marine Park in eastern Tanzania for conservation purposes, local access to fisheries and other maritime resources...
Conservation and conflict: The Mafia Island Marine Park
Since the establishment of the Mafia Island Marine Park in eastern Tanzania for conservation purposes, local access to fisheries and other maritime resources has been restricted. As many of the park’s residents are highly dependent on these resources, a conflict has developed between Mafia Island’s residents and the park’s authorities. Some fishers refuse to accept the restrictions, sometimes leading to arrests and violent clashes.
Conceptual Model

Intermediary Mechanisms

The park’s strict restrictions on fishing and the use of other coastal resources has reduced has hindered local communities from meeting basic needs, as they depend heavily on corals, fish and mangroves for their livelihoods.

Fragility and Conflict Risks

As a result, some fishers refuse to respect the regulations and follow their usual fishing patterns. Conversely, violent approaches to enforce park regulations have been applied more regularly. Thus, fishers and enforcement officers have occasionally clashed.

Climate ChangeEnvironmental ChangeIntermediary MechanismsFragility and Conflict RisksSocial and Economic DriversEnvironmental policies encourage land use change.Changes in land use reduce available/usable land.Land scarcity hampers agricultural production.Land scarcity undermines the livelihoods of agricultural producers.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources provokes discontent with the state.Livelihood insecurity leads to growing discontent with the state.Implementation of environmental/climate policies, such as REDD+, climate adaptation or the promotion of crop-based biofuel development.Environmental / Climate PoliciesA change in the usage of environmentally relevant land.Land Use ChangeReduced availability of/ access to land.Increased Land ScarcityReduced availability of essential natural resources, such as land and water.Change in Access / Availability of Natural ResourcesA threat or destruction of livelihoods dependent on the availability of environmental resources / goods.Livelihood InsecurityChallenge to the state's legitimacy, ranging from peaceful protest to violent attempts at overthrowing the government.Anti-State Grievances
Context Factors
  • Dysfunctional Resource Management
  • Overreliance on Specific Supplies
  • Lack of Alternative Livelihoods
Conflict History

In 1995 the government of Tanzania established the Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) southeast of Zanzibar Island in an attempt to protect biodiversity off its shores. However, the park’s strict regulations on fishing and the use of other coastal resources have been a thorn in the side of local communities that depend heavily on corals, fish and mangroves to earn a living. Violent incidents between fishermen who are not respecting the park’s regulations and enforcement officers have occasionally occurred.

Establishment of the MIMP
The region around Mafia Island, located 20 kilometres east of mainland Tanzania, is internationally recognised for its biodiversity, as it is one of the habitats supporting the highest marine biodiversity in eastern Africa and the western Indian Ocean (Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012; URT, 2011). In the 1980s global and local demand for the island’s resources rose, and this led to an increase in fishing intensity. Both residents and outsiders intensified their use of destructive methods like dynamite fishing. Furthermore, extreme weather events also endangered the coral reefs. For example, in 1998 extreme sea temperatures due to the El Niño phenomenon destroyed important parts of the reefs’ live corals (Johnson et al., 2012).

In 1995 the Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) was established with the aim of conserving biodiversity and ecosystem processes, and promoting sustainable resource use. Another goal was to facilitate eco-tourism, as developing the tourist industry promised to bring considerable returns (Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012). Apart from the Tanzanian government, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) played an important role in the implementation process, for example by funding the staff’s salary (Johnson et al., 2012). Spanning 288 km² and with 18,000 to 23,000 people living within its boundaries, the MIMP is the largest and most populated marine park in Africa (Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012; URT, 2011).

Impact on local livelihoods
Strategies to protect the park’s biodiversity include restrictions on access to fishing grounds, the prohibition of several types of fishing gear and a ban on coral mining (Moshy et al., 2015). Approximately 50% of the park’s inhabitants rely heavily on the exploitation of marine resources; for some villages, fisheries resources account for 70 to 80% of their income. Besides fishing, coral mining for commercial lime production and the cutting of mangroves is a source of income for many (URT, 2011). Thus, the decline in fishing possibilities and the restrictions on other resource-related activities has reduced local capacities to meet basic needs, leading to higher poverty rates and, as some authors stress, even undernutrition among children (Moshy et al., 2013).

As a consequence, some fishers refuse to respect the regulations and follow their traditional fishing patterns. A good example is the village of Jibondo, where fishers voted to reject the MIMP and its regulations in 2004, as they claimed the park had created a crisis in their lives. In particular the confiscation of their fishing gear by park authorities had led to a vicious cycle, as people needed to fish even more to pay off the loans for the new equipment (Moshy et al., 2015).

Moreover, the establishment of core zones, where fishing is completely forbidden, and the ban of coral mining have been perceived as overly restrictive and socially problematic, resulting in anger against those responsible for the park’s management (McClanahan et al., 2008; Mwaipopo, 2008).

Disappointment over compensation measures
Further frustrations stem from the fact that residents of the MIMP were promised compensation via an alternative livelihood programme, including the promotion of beekeeping, seaweed farming, handicrafts and other activities. Yet, the benefits of this programme have fallen short of expectations and it has not been possible to successfully substitute fishing-related activities (Mwaipopo, 2008).

Since the park’s foundation, the tourist industry has developed significantly, attracting mostly foreign investors and tourists. A percentage of the park’s proceeds is invested in local development projects, but residents perceive the distribution processes to be non-transparent. Beforehand, residents were promised economic advantages from tourism. Due to the observation that benefits flow mostly to the state and foreign enterprises, dissatisfaction with the park’s authorities and the government is rising. Given their missing revenues, they perceive the toursim industry as competition for access to resources rather than a potential source of income (Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012; Mwaipopo, 2008).

Exclusionary management practices
Participation of local communities in the management of the MIMP has remained limited, despite corresponding provisions in the planning process of the MIMP (URT, 2011). Over the years, dialogue between local residents and MIMP officials has decreased, while violent approaches to enforce park regulations have been applied more regularly. This has reinforced the anger of local communities against the park’s management (Moshy et al., 2015).

Resolution Efforts

The necessity both of supporting those negatively affected by the park through alternative revenues and of including local communities in decision making processes was recognized from the very beginning of the MIMPs creation. Yet, corresponding mechanisms to ensure community participation have either not been assessed or fallen short of expectations so far.

Participatory measures
Before and during the planning phase of the MIMP it was considered important to secure the consent of residents. Therefore, primary designs were participatory and villagers were promised opportunities to meaningfully participate in the management of the park in advance. A joint Steering Committee was founded in 1991, including representatives of the government, fishermen and civil society, to approve the establishment of the MIMP after previous consultations. Precisely because possibilities for participation were given during the planning process, the absence of comparable formats regarding management issues contributed to the feeling of being increasingly excluded from decision making (Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012; Johnson et al., 2012).

In cooperation with the Tanzanian government, WWF created Beach Management Units, through which fisher’s representatives could participate in decisions regarding management plans and government fisheries regulations (Johnson et al., 2012). The importance of local community involvement is recognized by the MIMP management and is reflected in the official General Management Plan 2011, but the actual participation of local communities has not been systematically assessed so far (URT, 2011).

Promotion of alternative livelihoods
Various programmes to support alternative livelihoods have been developed by the park’s management and the WWF. Diversification of livelihoods is not only important to raise the park’s acceptance, but also to reduce pressures on wild fish stocks. Activities such as beekeeping, seaweed farming and handicrafts have been promoted, but proceeds from these activities have remained low (Mwaipopo, 2008). Furthermore, the foundation of community banks was encouraged to support people starting a business – a plan that turned out to be difficult due to the isolated geographical location (Johnson et al., 2012; Mwaipopo, 2008). Also, MIMP’s management aims to develop under-utilised resources by providing opportunities for mariculture, agriculture, silviculture or agro-forestry. Residents of the park are still guaranteed priority access to its resources, and special permits have been issued to those living in the MIMP area (URT, 2011).

Beyond these measures, there is a wide range of options for transforming eco-tourism from a source of perceived competition for marine use into a source of income. Besides creating direct benefits at the community level by giving residents a share of the entry fees, the management strategy aims to increase the involvement of individuals. Staff are usually recruited from the local population and food preparation for tourists is a new potential field of activity (Johnson et al., 2012).

Health and awareness campaigns
In a joint effort with the national NGO SeaSense, WWF conducted education campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of environmental protection (Johnson et al., 2012). These target younger people, who, on average, are more opposed to the park’s regulations than their elders (McClanahn et al., 2008).

More generally, improvements to education and healthcare services have been a high priority in the first years of the park and welcomed by many residents, but there has since been a shift towards activities related to the aforementioned (and contentious) alternative livelihood programmes. Given the aim of easing tensions between residents and park authorities, it may therefore be advisable to revise priorities (Benjaminsen & Bryceson, 2012).

Outlook
While resistance to restrictions on fisheries is high among local fishermen, the majority of residents recognize the necessity of gear and minimum size restrictions (McClanahn et al., 2008). To ease tensions, it may therefore be worthwhile concentrating on these measures. Moreover, higher levels of transparency and accountability, both regarding the management of the park and the re-distribution of funds, are indispensable to restore trust in the park’s authorities.

Intensities & Influences
conflict intensity scale
Intensities
International / Geopolitical Intensity
Human Suffering

Influences
Environmental Influences
Societal Influences

Fatalities
0
Violent Conflict Yes
Salience within nation Municipal
Resources
Fish, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Stability
Resolution Success
Increased capacity to address grievance in the future There is no increased capacity to address grievances in the future.
Grievance Resolution Grievances have been partially addressed.
General opencollapse
Country Data in Comparison
ConflictNoData Created with Sketch.


Actors
Participation Conflict Party     Conflict Resolution Facilitator
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
Functional GroupCivil Society
Geographical ScaleExternal
Park Management
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal National
Residents of the Marine Park
Functional GroupCivil Society
Geographical ScaleInternal Grassroots
Government of Tanzania
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal National
Entry Points for Resilience and Peace Building
0 Dialogue Transparency and accountability, both regarding the management of the park and the re-distribution of funds, are indispensable to restore trust in the park’s authorities.
2 Social inclusion & empowerment Local communities were given possibilities for participation during the planning process of the park, specifically through the establishment of a joint Steering Committee. Beach Management Units were also created to allow community representatives to participate in decisions regarding management plans.
2 Promoting alternative livelihoods Alternative livelihoods have been promoted through various programmes by the park’s management and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Activities surrounding ecotourism are also being developed as a potential source of income for local communities.
2 Promoting social change The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) together with the national NGO SeaSense have conducted education campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of environmental protection.
Further Details opencollapse
Conflict Characterization
Character of the contested good Public good: No one can be excluded from use and the good is not depleted.
Structure of decision-making power / interdependence Asymmetric: The power to affect the environmental resource is unequal.
Broad conflict characterization Resource Capture is present.
Data of involved Countries
Resources and Materials opencollapse
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Topics

Adaptation & Resilience

All countries will need to adapt to some of the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change that are already unavoidable. Food security, livelihoods, water resource availability and public health are some affected areas. People living in poverty are more vulnerable, having a lower capacity to adapt. Thus, it is essential to promote resilience building. The adaptation and resilience aspects need to be mainstreamed into planning by policy makers and the private sector as well as integrated into development strategies.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods

Nature protection is most sustainable if it essentially contributes to the long-term stability of human needs. Today many regions around the world are confronted with increasing destruction of the natural foundations of life. The consequences of wide-ranging resource destruction are no longer regionally limited, but rather represent a global threat. Those affected are mainly rural populations, who find the sources of their income and the foundations of their way of life swept away. The depletion and destruction of natural resources goes hand in hand with decreasing agricultural yields and increasing poverty, which in turn forces the affected populations to deplete the remaining resources.

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Capacity Building

On the one hand, conflicts are caused by structural factors, such as economic and social inequality or environmental destruction. On the other hand, conflicts are fuelled by a lack of democratic structures, deficient mechanisms of non-violent conflict settlement, inadequate rule of law, the destruction of social and cultural identity and the disregard of human rights. Against this backdrop, development policies have been dedicated to a broad concept of security, which comprises political, economic, ecological and social stability. As a consequence, development cooperation agencies and actors have developed a broad spectrum of approaches for conflict prevention and transformation as well as for sustainable use of natural resources.

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Cities

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Civil Society

Civil society is the first victim of environmental pollution, under-development and conflicts. Economically disadvantaged and politically marginalized population groups are particularly affected by violent conflicts as well as increasing resource degradation. Simultaneously, civil society is a fundamental pillar for implementing sustainable development. It contributes in many ways to strengthening conflict prevention and plays a significant role in the peaceful and democratic development of states. It must be supported to strengthen civil rights, adherence to human rights in general and democratic participation.

Climate Change

Climate change resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases represents one of the vital challenges for international environmental policy. Flooding, droughts, shifting of climate zones and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events will have serious economic and social consequences for entire regions. The climate problem is also directly linked to the question of future energy generation.

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Climate Diplomacy

To address the challenges posed by climate change, a new profile of climate diplomacy is evolving. This utilises a full range of policies, including development cooperation, conflict prevention efforts, and humanitarian assistance, in addition to more traditional measures of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moving from a risk analysis of climate-related threats to well-timed preventive action requires a greater commitment to integrating climate change concerns into development, foreign, and security policies. Examples include strengthening diplomatic networks, building new alliances with partners, and raising awareness – not only of potentially negative climate change impacts, but also of opportunities to embark on a sustainable transformation of our societies.

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Co-Benefits

Climate action entails an array of economic, social, political and environmental co-benefits. It provides an opportunity for economic growth and new jobs. Many investments can take into account climate considerations without becoming more costly. Further important co-benefits include: improved energy security, less local air and water pollution, health benefits as well as ecosystem and biodiversity protection.

Conflict Transformation

In order to overcome the structural causes of violent conflicts and thus bring about an improvement in the framework conditions for peaceful and fair development, it is essential to have long term and broadly planned peace development and peace advancement. Various governmental and non-governmental, national and international actors and groups are involved in these processes.

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Development

Climate change and development are inextricably linked. Climate change endangers the development agenda and has the potential to reverse development goals. Furthermore, successful mitigation of climate change heavily depends on development choices around the world. Therefore, development strategies need to be climate-compatible to provide long-term success, and there are viable policy options that support this compatibility. Many mitigation and adaptation activities can present development opportunities to developing countries and avoid the lock-in to environmentally damaging technologies.

Early Warning & Risk Analysis

The reasons for the development and escalation of conflicts and the incidence of risks are multifaceted and complex. Simultaneously, the assessment of the specific causes in the form of risk and conflict analyses can contribute to a better understanding of these processes and make it possible to provide warning of negative developments, or ideally help prevent them. In the context of natural resource use, risks and conflicts have gained increasing attention in the past years. The debate on possible future water wars is merely one example.

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Energy

The well-being of individuals, communities and nations depends on the availability of energy resources. The gap between energy supply and demand appears to be growing, making the world vulnerable to serious economic shocks. At the same time, the burning of fossil fuels causing climate change is one of the vital challenges of international environmental policy. So far, only rudimentary approaches exist for shaping climate and energy security in a sustainable way. The components of a strategy that can contribute to reducing vulnerabilities related to climate change and energy policy include a greater role for renewable energies, the improvement of energy efficiency and a stronger decentralisation of energy supply.

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Environment & Migration

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Finance

Climate finance, from all sources, plays a key role in supporting and enabling adaptation and mitigation action as well as climate and energy innovation. The Paris Agreement ensured that the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility are at the core of climate finance architecture as entities entrusted with the operation of the Financial Mechanism of the UNFCCC. Increasing climate finance from all relevant public and private sources is crucial. Furthermore, much needs to be done to redirect finance flows to sustainable paths, e.g. reducing fossil fuel subsidies, introducing maritime and air transportation taxes. The conditions for green investment in developing countries should also be improved.

Forests

Forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Competition for forest resources triggers, exacerbates, or finances numerous crises and conflicts in tropical developing countries. Illegal logging and timber trade foster instability and sometimes violent conflict by strengthening illegal and armed groups, increasing corruption and exacerbating use and claim conflicts among local communities, the state and the business sector. Forests are a vital resource to poor people but they can also become areas of conflict. Sustainable management of forest resources is therefore key to preventing violent conflict over and within forests.

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Gender

Gender plays an important role as a category of conflict for many reasons. The interlinkages between gender, environment and conflicts are complex and much research is still needed. Existing insights suggest that conflicts may worsen gender inequalities that existed before the outbreak of violence. The unequal distribution of land property rights in many parts of the world serves as an example. Moreover, women (and children) are among those most affected by both violent conflict and natural disasters. At the same time, women carry much of the burden of trying to implement rehabilitation measures after crisis events.

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Land & Food

Increasing water scarcity, desertification and crop failures due to extreme weather events are becoming more and more of a threat to global food production. While the world’s population continues to grow rapidly, food production is unable to keep pace. Due to the global food crisis in 2008, the number of hungry people reached the symbolic one billion threshold for the first time – corresponding to about 16 percent of world population. Food insecurity may be a consequence or cause of conflicts. Violent conflicts often lead to the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and means of production, as well as to the displacement of local communities.

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Minerals & Mining

In the past, the discovery and tapping of valuable or strategic resources like valuable minerals, oil and natural gas, particularly in developing and emerging countries, has often led to large scale environmental contamination and negative development. The "resource curse" of some countries shows that the wealth from resource yields is frequently unfairly distributed; instead of serving development it advanced the formation of corrupt elites and in some cases even led to conflicts and civil wars. Measures in various sectors and at all levels are important in order to use the potential of these natural resources in a manner that is sustainable and prevents conflicts.

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Private Sector

The spread of violent conflict not only affects people but also companies located in such regions. Destruction of investments and infrastructure, collapse of markets and trade partnerships, flight and expulsion of employees are phenomena of conflicts and environment-induced crises that directly affect companies in unstable regions. Almost all branches of the economy thus have a clear interest in a stable and peaceful environment for their activities. Conversely, the business sector plays an important role in the interaction of economic growth, social development and a healthy environment, all of which can advance peace and sustainable development. 

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Security

Environmental issues have a significant security dimension. Access to, and overuse of, natural resources often play a key role in civil wars or other forms of internal domestic conflict. This is compounded by climate change and environmental degradation. Climate change is now widely recognised as a non-traditional, risk-multiplying threat that will have increasing security impacts. Key risks with possible implications for human and national security include water scarcity, food crises, natural disasters, and displacement. More preventive diplomacy and advocacy is needed to address the strategic implications of climate and environmental change.

Sustainable Transformation

Sustainable Transformation allows societies to profit from a growing, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive economy – especially in emerging and developing countries. This requires a higher up-front investment, but the benefits of a sustainable transformation in the medium and long term are significant. For instance, energy cost savings and reducing the impact of price volatility offer major incentives for deploying renewable energies and promoting energy efficiency. Such benefits exist in all key sectors of the economy.

Technology & Innovation

Innovations and technologies are already readily available and affordable but their global diffusion and uptake remains a challenge. Innovation and technology are crucial to achieving ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation targets. However, research and development often do not receive appropriate public support. Developing countries can leapfrog high-carbon industrialisation phases by adopting, deploying and improving existing innovations and technologies. For this, it is essential to minimise financial, administrative and political barriers.

Water

The availability of freshwater resources in sufficient quantity and quality is essential for the preservation of human health and sound ecosystems. The use of water resources is also vital, however, for economic development: whether for agriculture, industrial production or for electricity generation. The world's freshwater resources are distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and seasons. In addition, water shortage is becoming more prevalent in several regions due to population growth, economic development, urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution. Thus, water resources can hold potential for conflicts between parties who have different interests and needs.

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Regions

Asia

The environment in Asia is already under tremendous pressure as a result of the unsustainable use of land, forests, water and even air in many regions. Climate change will only exacerbate these challenges. Rising sea levels will likely endanger densely populated areas, changes in the monsoon patterns can strongly impact agriculture, melting glaciers will increase long-term water scarcity, and extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and cyclones can pose further hazards.

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Central America & Caribbean

Natural disasters and water scarcity are key challenges for most of Central America and the Caribbean. These challenges will become even more pronounced as the climate changes. Weak resource and disaster risk management and land disputes pose additional security challenges for large parts of the region. Several countries of Central America and the Caribbean have limited adaptive capacities as they face political instability caused by high social inequality, crime, corruption, and intra-state conflicts.

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Europe

As one of the most developed and most densely populated regions in the world, Europe makes heavy use of its resources, resulting in difficult trade-offs and negative consequences for the environment and ecosystems. Land is used for settlements, agriculture and dense infrastructure, creating problems of soil degradation. Water resources are stressed due to unsustainable agricultural practices. Despite nature protection policies, Europe continues to lose biodiversity at an alarming pace. Some of these trends are exacerbated by climate change, which is expected, for instance, to lead to shifts in water availability.

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Global Issues

Resource scarcities, environmental pollution and climate change are not limited by national borders, but often have a transboundary or even global impact. These issues interact with political stability, governance structures and economic performance, and can trigger or worsen disputes and violent conflicts. Exacerbating some of these trends, climate change is likely to lead to the degradation of freshwater resources, declines in food production, increases in storm and flood disasters and environmentally induced migration. All these developments pose potential for conflict.

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Middle East & North Africa

The geopolitical position of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), its fossil fuel resources, high population growth and the political changes spurred by the Arab Spring all make the region one of the most dynamic in the world. Nevertheless, it is also one of the most arid and environmentally stressed. Dwindling water resources, limited arable and grazing land, high pollution from household and industrial waste, remnants of conflicts and increasing desertification are key environmental challenges.

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North America

Climate change has various impacts on the three North American countries of Canada, Mexico and the US. Canada and the US have well-developed adaptive capacities and foster the strengthening of capacities in other regions as well. With high per capita emissions, these two countries also bear a greater responsibility for a changing climate. Mexico has a sound national strategy for climate change adaptation, yet fewer capacities than Canada and the US. The poorer and rural populations of Mexico are especially vulnerable to climate change, due to an increased sensitivity and a lower adaptive capacity.

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Oceania & Pacific

In Oceania, population growth and economic development trends put a strain on oceanic and island ecosystems. Freshwater scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, loss of land biodiversity, forests and trees, invasive species, soil degradation, increasing levels of settlement, poor management of solid and hazardous waste and disproportionate use of coastal areas are some of the problems. Climate change exacerbates most of these trends, while also raising questions about the future sovereignty of some island states.

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South America

South America has diverse and unique ecosystems and is very rich in biodiversity. Weak natural resource management, land disputes and extreme weather events bring about significant challenges for the region. While South America accounts for relatively few CO2 emissions, the changing climate will alter its ecosystems and greater climate variability will lead to more hurricanes, landslides, and droughts.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

In many African states, environmental security issues rank high on the political agenda. Throughout the continent, countries suffer from water scarcity, food insecurity and energy poverty. These chronic and worsening resource scarcities have severe livelihood implications and are exacerbated by political conflicts over access to and control over these resources. Climate change may seriously threaten political and economic stability in Africa. It may also put a severe strain on the capacities of states and societies to co-ordinate activities, to communicate and to organize.

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