In the central Sahel, states are mobilising to combat the impact of climate change as way of reducing conflict. But to respond suitably to growing insecurity, it is important to look beyond a simplistic equation linking global warming and resource scarcity to outbreaks of violence.
Today’s violent conflicts are proving deadlier and more difficult to resolve than ever before. In addition, there is a growing recognition of the role of climate change in exacerbating conflict risks. In light of these, a new report by UNU-CPR aims to support the UN and its partners in developing climate-sensitive conflict prevention approaches.
South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.
Climate change was more central than ever at this year’s Munich Security Conference (MSC), the leading international forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders. The release of the inaugural “World Climate and Security Report 2020” (WCSR 2020) by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) should help policymakers take effective action.
This report assesses how peacebuilding programming can produce adaptation benefits, so that interventions simultaneously contribute to reduced intercommunal conflict and strengthened resilience to shocks. It draws on the evaluations of programs that included peacebuilding and climate change adaptation to synthesize lessons learned, develop and test a theory of change, and offer recommendations integrating approaches that consider and address compound climate-fragility risks.
Evidence from existing programs shows that climate change adaptation interventions can contribute to peacebuilding, and peacebuilding can have significant adaptation benefits.
Africa in general, and the Sahel in particular, is often identified as the region where climate change is most likely to undermine security and trigger violent conflict. This is a function of the region’s history of violent conflict and its perceived vulnerability to climate change.
South Asia is one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable regions. Many countries in the region lack the resources and capacities needed to cope with the worsening impacts of climate change. At the same time, climate change is increasingly interacting with socio-economic, demographic and political factors to exacerbate fragility risks.
On 29 November in Rabat, adelphi partnered with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to hold a regional dialogue on climate change and fragility risks in North Africa and the Sahel.
For the past four decades, Afghanistan has suffered from the devastating impacts of constant armed conflict. Conflicts have increased Afghanistan’s already high vulnerability to climate change, the impacts of which may, in turn, help to create the conditions for continued violence.
Years ago, Mohamed’s family had enough to eat, despite being poor. His daughter owned a vegetable stall at a bustling market in northeastern Nigeria. The family had options: during the dry season, when Lake Chad was shallow, Mohamed could farm; and during the wet season, he could fish or graze his cattle. But then things began to change.
The new study Shoring up Stability demonstrates, for the first time, how climate change interacts with conflict and exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad region. To launch the report and discuss its findings with local policy-makers, experts and practitioners, the German Embassy in Niger, adelphi and CNESS co-organised a launch event on 24 October in Niamey. Insights from Niger point to the importance of investing in governance rather than technical fixes.
Rather than acting as direct drivers of conflict, climate change and variability are seen as intermediary sources of risk, or ‘threat multipliers’. This is because they interact with existing socioeconomic and environmental conditions to increase livelihood insecurity and the probability of conflict in certain situations. In this light, this report explores the complex and tangled links between climate variability and change and the proliferation of armed networks operating in northern Niger.
“Climate Security risks will materialise in very different ways and forms, whether we talk about Lake Chad or about the Arctic, Bangladesh and the Small Island Developing States,” said the EU’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Joao Vale de Almeida, in his opening remarks. “But for the EU, there is no doubt, as underlined in 2016 in our Global Strategy, and reaffirmed by the 28 Ministers of Foreign Affairs, that climate change is a major threat to the security of the EU and to global peace and security more generally,” he said.
In recent years, conflict between herders and farmers for access to increasingly scarce natural resources in Africa’s Sudano-Sahel has escalated. While the problems fueling these tensions are both hyper-local and transnational in nature, one important piece of the puzzle has been overlooked. The real “elephant in the room” is who owns the livestock.