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.
Evidence from existing programs shows that climate change adaptation interventions can contribute to peacebuilding, and peacebuilding can have significant adaptation benefits.
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.
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.
In “Africa’s smallest war,” both Kenya and Uganda lay claim to Migingo Island, a tiny island in the waters of Lake Victoria. While the claims are over the island, the conflict is about something else entirely: Lates niloticus, also known as Nile perch, a tasty white fish that swims in the waters surrounding the island. The fish forms the backbone of the Lake Victoria economy but is increasingly hard to come by along the lakeshore. Catches are in decline, incomes are dropping, and the Ugandan government is taking increasingly harsh, militarized steps to help revive the fishery. Who is to blame?
Nigeria’s central Middle Belt region is home to a diverse cultural population of semi-nomadic cattle herders and farming communities. For decades, the region has experienced increasingly violent attacks that have been partially attributed to direct competition over access and use of natural resources.
Human activity has caused the temperature of the Earth and its atmosphere to rise by about 1°C above pre-industrial levels, triggering fundamental changes to the planet’s physical and social landscapes. On 8 October an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that temperatures were rising faster than expected, and that 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels could occur as early as 2030.
“In the last decade, almost half of Africa’s elephants have been killed for their ivory, and some experts are predicting that both elephants and rhinoceros will be extinct by 2030,” said Nancy Lindborg, President of the U.S. Institute of Peace at a recent event on wildlife poaching and trafficking. The illegal trade in protected wildlife is worth US$7-10 billion—some of which has ended up in the pockets of armed groups like Al-Shabaab and the Lord’s Resistance Army, said Lindborg.
Peat areas have played a pivotal role in conflicts globally, and have also been a point of contention during post-conflict recovery. Communities in Southeast Asia as well as in the countries of the Congo are facing challenges as finding political solutions for this problem.
Liberia’s largest palm oil producer, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) pulls out of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – how can rural communities cope with the impacts? The forests near GVL’s Liberian plantations are not only sacred sites of the region's people but also heavily populated with chimpanzees, leopards, pygmy hippopotamus and forest elephants which are significant not only to the local ecosystem but globally.
Lake Chad is a geophysical and ecological miracle. Situated in the arid Sahel region, two large rivers create an oasis in an otherwise water scarce region. But today, the Lake Chad region is best known for armed conflict, Boko Haram and one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. According to Janani Vivekananda, Senior Adviser for Climate Change and Peacebuilding at adelphi, climate change plays a very real role in exacerbating and prolonging the crisis.
Both those who argue for and those who refute climate-conflict links draw on Darfur to support their case. New analysis of political bias behind the environmental narratives and their critiques adds much-needed nuance to our understanding of when drought is – and is not – relevant to the conflict.
In this report, the Expert Working Group on Climate-Related Security Risks provides a climate-related security risk assessment and options for climate risk management strategies in the Lake Chad region.
The Lake Chad Basin is afflicted with a multidimensional crisis, which contributing factors range from deeply-entrenched regional hostilities to environmental degradation. The vulnerability of livelihood systems to changing climate patterns adds to the security pressures by exposing local populations to intimidation and recruitment by radical groups. Anja Stache, Programme Coordinator at GIZ, explains how the German development agency helps strengthen resilience by introducing climate-smart seeds.
This Climate-Fragility profile is envisaged as a first component of a Climate-Fragility Risk Assessment process. It summarizes the key challenges the Lake Chad region is experiencing as a consequence of the interplay between climate change and fragility.