Climate change and violent extremism will be two of the major threats to the stability of states and societies in the next decades. In many African countries climate change has significantly increased instability by over-stretching the already limited capacity of governments to respond. UNDP Team Leader Aliou M. Dia shares his insights from West Africa and argues that one has to ensure that violence and conflict prevention measures are fully integrated in climate change adaptation plans and programmes.
The world dismisses them as economic migrants. The law treats them as criminals who show up at a nation’s borders uninvited. Prayers alone protect them on the journey across the merciless Sahara. But peel back the layers of their stories and you find a complex bundle of trouble and want that prompts the men and boys of West Africa to leave home, endure beatings and bribes, board a smuggler’s pickup truck and try to make a living far, far away. They do it because the rains have become so fickle, the days measurably hotter, the droughts more frequent and more fierce, making it impossible to grow enough food on their land.
"Land degradation is a root cause of migration and a trigger of conflicts", says Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In the interview, she explains the links between environmental change and violent conflict in Africa. Concrete examples such as the "Great Green Wall" raise hope that conflicts over scarce resources can be successfully addressed and that degraded landscapes can be restored through collaborative efforts.
How to deal with the impact of climate change on peace and stability? What are the key climate-fragility risks to development in Africa and how can integrated policy responses be designed and implemented? Two side events at COP22 discussed entry points for addressing climate-security risks on the ground.
Climate change is a decisive global challenge which, if not urgently managed, will put at risk not only the environment but also world economic prosperity, development and, more broadly, stability and security. Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by a number of non-climatic factors, including hunger, high prevalence of disease, widespread poverty, chronic conflicts, high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, low levels of development and low adaptive capacity.
Fresh water is an indispensable resource for human life and ecosystem health. A considerable amount of fresh water resources accessible for human use are shared between two or more countries. Around the world, there are 286 transboundary river basins, and 148 countries include territory within one or more of these basins. Contrary to expectations, internationally shared water resources have long acted as a source of cooperation rather than conflict between riparian states.
A paper published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tests the hypothesis that climate related natural disasters may be part of the cause of conflict in countries with high ethnic fractionalization.
While natural resource development can generate economic success, it can also increase the likelihood of conflict, particularly in Africa. Ongoing violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta is a good example of the so-called “resource curse” in action. In response, African governments continue to grapple with how best to use their resource endowments to foster both economic opportunity and peace. At a time of much soul-searching for the United Nations, there is a unique opportunity to put responsible and effective resource development at the heart of African peacebuilding. But how might local communities take greater ownership of these processes?
26 May 2016 – At a meeting today in the United Nations Security Council on the situation in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, senior UN officials stressed that climate change plays a direct role in the region’s security, development and stability by increasing drought and fuelling conflict.
Forging national unity has been a perennial challenge to Nigeria’s evolution as a country. Since independence from Britain 56 years ago, the country continues to weather severe existential storms that strike at its very core.
Blood Timber is a report by global witness which reveals how logging companies in the Central African Republic have paid millions of euros into the hands of rebels guilty of mass murder, kidnappings, rapes and the forced recruitment of child soldiers. It also finds that the EU is complicit in these actions because of their intensive trade relations. The report therefore calls on the EU and its member states to cut all trade and aid links to CAR’s logging industry, which continues to be a source of instability as the African country struggles to restore peace.
At its 585th meeting on March 30 2016, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union held an open session on Climate Change: State fragility, peace and security in Africa. The debate reflected the collective acknowledgement that climate change, peace and security in Africa are inextricably linked, stressing the need for all AU Member States to further build national resilience capacities.
This report focuses on energy-water conflicts which are linked to the coal industry's impact on current and future water demand. Published by Greenpeace International, the study features five case studies of water conflicts due to coal expansion and identifies regions in which already existing and planned coal plants will further aggravate water scarcity.
To ensure that Paris will be a sustainable success, active engagement is required to fully implement the INDCs and to ratchet up ambition in the coming years. Catalyzing the climate economy will be the key to accelerate the path towards a much-needed climate-friendly trajectory.