On 4-5th May, adelphi was at the Resilient Cities Congress 2017 in Bonn to speak on a panel on ‘Violence and Climate Change in Cities’. The session was a unique and much required discussion on the interactions between climate change and conflict in urban settings.
Without concerted efforts to help small-scale farmers raise productivity and adapt to climate change, the G20 will not come close to attaining its goal of securing global food systems, argue Ruth Delzeit, Kacana Sipangule and Rainer Thiele.
FAO warns that without urgent intervention, 20 million people will starve to death over the next six months in South Sudan, Somalia, north-eastern Nigeria and Yemen. UNICEF reports that 22 million children across these countries “are hungry, sick, displaced and out of school,” mainly because of conflict. Climate change and water insecurity are major challenges to ending hunger and achieving sustainable agriculture, outside of conflict, a primary driver.
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.
Recognizing the risks to development posed by climate change and lessons learned on integrating environmental governance and peacebuilding, implementation of Liberia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) with cooperation from climate finance institutions offers an opportunity to plan and create an environment for sustainable peace, explains Jonathan Rozen.
"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.
Sustaining peace in Kenya’s Kajiado County requires looking beyond climate change and recognizing the role of land privatization in pastoralists’ vulnerability. Author Jonathan Rozen illustrates how climate change acts as a threat multiplier, exacerbating challenges such as economic precariousness, water shortage and violent land disputes.
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.
Earlier this month, armed clashes between competing factions of South Sudan’s government broke out in the capital Juba, a day after the nation’s fifth anniversary of its independence. The conflict dates back to political events and factional fighting that first emerged in 2013.
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?
This briefing paper argues that in order to achieve the targets set out in the Malabo Declaration, which was adopted in 2014 with the aim to improve nutrition and food security across Africa, and to increase agricultural productivity by 2025 while building resilience to the effects of climate change, African governments must support programmes that will contribute to strengthening smallholder farmers’ resilience and improving their livelihoods.