ECC Platform Library

 

The Central Sahel: Scene of New Climate Wars?

27 April, 2020
International Crisis Group

Blue helmets, Mopti, Mali, peacekeeping, MINUSMA

Blue helmets, Mopti, Mali, peacekeeping, MINUSMA
UN Security Council convoy drives through the streets of Mopti, Northern Mali | © UN Photo/Marco Dormino

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.

What’s new? Violence is rising in the central Sahel, linked largely to competition over natural resources in rural areas. Sahelian states and their partners fear that the effects of climate change could further exacerbate conflict.

Why does it matter? Climate change has certainly contributed to transforming the region’s agro-pastoral systems. But the direct relationship sometimes posited between global warming and dwindling resources, on one hand, and growing violence, on the other, does not help policymakers formulate appropriate responses.

What should be done? It is essential to consider the impact of climate change in the Sahel. But the climate component must be linked to a broader set of causalities, notably the political choices – including those made by states – governing access to resources.

I. Overview

Since the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, the central Sahel countries – Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger –have been considered ecologically fragile and highly impoverished. Today, in addition to these climatic and economic problems, the region is witnessing a proliferation of armed groups in rural areas, some of which claim to act in the name of jihad. One theory is that global warming is leading to a reduction in available resources and, consequently, an increase in violence. But the evidence does not seem to bear it out. The spread of conflict in the region is linked less to dwindling resources than to transformation of modes of production, resulting in poorly regulated competition over access to increasingly coveted resources – particularly land.

It is essential to fight climate change and its effects, which include increased land pressure, particularly in rural areas. But resource scarcity is neither the only nor the determining factor behind rising insecurity. In some cases, resources are plentiful, but traditional or central authorities lack the ability or the legitimacy to mediate conflicts over access to them.

If governments base development policies on the premise that resource scarcity automatically leads to a surge in violence, they will run the risk of formulating inadequate responses to the profound transformation of agro-pastoral systems. It is thus important to provide tools that can ensure a more equitable distribution of the resources created. In addition, the states’ political choices play an essential role in maintaining a balance between agricultural and pastoral production. In the central Sahel, government policies have long benefited sedentary farmers at the expense of nomadic herders. States should correct this imbalance and find new solutions that reconcile the interests of different systems of production.

II. With Global Warming, Passions Flare

In recent years, the central Sahel – Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger – has become an epicentre of insecurity, with state authorities withdrawing into cities and armed groups, some claiming to act in the name of jihad, spreading throughout rural zones. The insecurity is developing in a poor, semi-arid region perceived as vulnerable for several decades, especially since the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. An increasing number of experts and decision-makers are not only connecting the phenomena of rising violence and changing climate but positing a direct link between the two.

These actors believe that higher temperatures in the Sahel are producing more droughts and floods, which in turn jeopardise agricultural production, increase poverty and fuel ethnic violence. Armed groups, particularly jihadists, are said to exploit these tensions to draw in recruits. Some observers consider this link to be self-evident and comment that for central Sahelian states, “the map of insecurity and that of hunger are superimposed”.

For Sahel governments, linking jihadism to climate change is perhaps a way of attracting financial assistance by connecting two issues that mobilise international donors. In February 2019, seventeen Sahel countries met in Niger’s capital, Niamey, to adopt a plan investing $400 billion (more than 350 billion euros) over the period 2019-2030 to combat the effects of climate change. At this meeting, participants deplored the impact of global warming in reducing the area of arable land, depleting resources and increasing insecurity.

They also stressed the need for industrialised countries, the prime culprits in global warming, to financially support the Sahel states that are its first victims. For Sahelian leaders, this link also has the potential advantage of attributing the causes of violence to large-scale external factors for which they cannot be held responsible.

This plan to combat global warming is part of a broader logic of initiatives focusing on the “security-development” nexus. These combine actions aimed at halting the cycle of impoverishment in the Sahel and interventions to prevent the spread of armed groups, particularly jihadists. The plan involves both deploying troops to defeat terrorists and investing in development to guarantee residents access to resources.

The goal is for the countries to escape poverty, which is believed to lie behind the rise of the most violent armed groups. Sahelian authorities, their partners and numerous experts repeat that jihadist groups thrive because they offer an alternative to rural Sahelian youth lacking access to resources.

III. The Role of Climate Change in the Transformation of Agro-pastoral Systems

There is little doubt that climate change has an important influence on the conditions of agro-pastoral production. That said, its impact on resources and violence cannot be analysed in isolation without taking other factors into account, and ​the relationship cannot be reduced to a simple equation between global warming and dwindling resources, on one hand, and mounting violence, on the other.

Climate change has certainly helped disrupt the balance between pastoral and agricultural production systems, to the detriment of herders. The Sahelian droughts of the 1970s-1980s not only lowered the region’s production levels for several years, but they also profoundly altered relationships between farmers and herders. These years of drought decimated the herds of central Mali, impoverishing Fulani herdsmen who depended on transhumance for survival.

During that time, farmers experienced several bad harvests, but they continued to produce and soon generated a new surplus that many invested in livestock. These sedentary farmers then employed as herdsmen a large number of Fulani who had been ruined by the droughts. This period is the origin of a crisis of marginalisation for pastoral communities, which partly explains the appeal of jihadist rhetoric to many Fulani nomads.

Of course, climate change is not solely responsible for the crisis in pastoralism. Other factors, particularly the expansion of farmland which has eaten away at pastoral areas, and the rise of forms of insecurity such as armed banditry, are also to blame. Furthermore, the advance of agricultural pioneers – ie, the expansion of land used for farming – is not only a demographic phenomenon. It is also linked to power relations between farmers and herders at the local level, as well as to political decisions, including those made by states. For instance, the Malian state’s high priorities on food autonomy and modernisation of agriculture have generally favoured farmers over herders.

In short, local conflicts affecting central Mali are less the result of dwindling resources – in reality, resource production has increased overall in central Mali – than of increasing tensions surrounding land use. The climate, in this case a prolonged drought in the 1970s and 1980s, has had a significant impact on the region, but its repercussions on conflict were indirect and can only be understood through a broader analysis of the transformations in agro-pastoral production systems.

IV. Increased Resources, Increased Tensions

The theory that conflict in the Sahel is directly related to resource scarcity – in part caused by climate change – could lead to development policies whose primary purpose is to increase available resources. Following this logic, a response to droughts that harm relations between farmers and herders might be to support projects to dig wells, thereby increasing the volume of available water. Yet past experiences in several Sahel regions suggest that creating new resources can also provoke an increase in local tensions and sometimes violent conflict.

In central Mali, during an operation to support livestock farming in the Mopti region (Opération de développement de l’élevage dans la région de Mopti, ODEM), new wells like those of Tolodjé, an important pastoral reserve, rendered areas previously devoid of water more attractive. The wells drew in Dogon farmers from central Mali, who settled there, initially with the permission of Fulani herders whom the state often recognised as having land use rights.

Over time, the number of farmers grew and they began asserting their rights over the land surrounding the wells, which had been dug for the herders. Tensions between herders and farmers worsened, as neither the state nor “traditional” local authorities seemed capable of regulating land use in a peaceful and consensual manner. In this zone, the fresh violence between jihadists and self-defence groups is partly related to such quarrels over water reserves that became available in recent decades.

Climate change and violent extremism in the Western Sahel

 

Another example: in the Soum province of Burkina Faso, the “Riz Pluvial” development project helped increase rice production volumes in the municipality of Belehédé. But this project also affected the local demographic and political balance by drawing in non-native farmers, mostly from the Fulsé and Mossi ethnic groups. As a result, Fulani owners who are often nomadic herders felt pushed off the land without adequate compensation.

The non-native populations also sought to bypass the traditional local authority, in this case the emir of Tongomayel, by appointing their own village chiefs. Amid these tensions, Fulani herders have approached jihadist groups, who are known for rejecting state decisions and helping people who support them gain access to land.

In both cases, it was not the scarcity of resources that led to violence, but rather the creation of new resources that generated or exacerbated conflicts over land use and access to land.

V. Changes in Agro-pastoral Systems and Levels of Violence: the Example of Central Mali

While climate change does have an impact on production levels in the Sahel, no simple causal relationship exists between this factor and the level of violence, or between the reduction of resources and the surge of violence in particular. There is a stronger correlation between the proliferation of conflicts in the Sahel and the transformation of production systems, leading to poorly regulated competition for increasingly coveted resources – land in particular. Paradoxically, while arable land in Sahelian countries is shrinking each year as a result of climate change, the areas under cultivation continue to expand, along with production itself. Demographic expansion partly explains this phenomenon, as does improved land use and management. Climate change increases pressure on land, but it is neither the only nor the determining factor.

Land pressure is mainly related to the fact that land is becoming increasingly valuable and therefore more coveted. In the Mopti region of central Mali – the hub of the Katiba Macina insurgency led by preacher Hamadoun Koufa – levels of agricultural production have risen sharply over the past two decades despite relatively large variations from year to year. While cereal production was 420,000 tonnes in 1999-2000, fifteen years later it had tripled, reaching a peak of 1.22 million tonnes in 2015-2016.

The increase in cereal production is largely related to the expansion of areas under cultivation, which grew from 789,120 hectares in 2001-2002 to 991,554 hectares in 2016, an increase of 26 per cent. In the south of Mopti, the scene of turbulent local conflicts, a poorly regulated rush toward farmland on the plains of Séno-Gondo led to violence between Fulani and Dogon.

While the high demand for land exacerbates conflict, the regulatory mechanisms – whether traditional or set up by the central state – are not always efficient or legitimate enough to settle disputes. Many conflicts result from attempts to seize new land, a source of tension between populations that authorities are unable to manage peaceably.

The demand for agricultural land and therefore also its value have significantly increased due to the impact of mechanised farming, irrigation and Dogon migration from the Bandiagara escarpment to the plains.

More farmers are exploiting land previously reserved for livestock and are taking over areas near water sources and pastoral wells to grow vegetables. This expansion of agricultural land makes it difficult for livestock to enter pastures and reach water sources, leading to violent incidents.

VI. Better Regulating Access to Natural Resources

The Sahelians who share coveted territory have never been more numerous, but they are also producing more resources than ever before. Poverty is a reality in the Sahel, but its rural inhabitants are not pitted against each other because they live on poorer and poorer land. Rather, the intensifying development of rural areas is generating unprecedented competition that authorities are unable to manage. Policy responses seeing a simple link between climate change, dwindling resources and violence are based on a faulty diagnosis and thus offer no remedy. Of course, it is urgent to respond to the effects of climate change in the Sahel, as elsewhere, given the gravity of the threat it poses.

But it would be wrong to do so based on a direct correlation between global warming and violence that the facts do not support. Other factors may explain this surge in violence. In the central Sahel, government policies have long favoured sedentary farmers at the expense of nomadic herders, an approach that should now raise concerns.

That said, it would be dangerous to call for a simple policy reversal as a form of compensation. It is essential to provide space for pastoralists who were badly affected by the severe droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, but to do so by brutally forcing tens of thousands of farmers off pastoral land would inevitably create new tensions and conflicts. Once again, as much as it needs to produce resources for its populations, the Sahel needs legitimate mediators who can peacefully arbitrate the delicate issues of access to and distribution of resources in rural areas.

The methods of intervention must be reviewed. Development projects do not merely generate wealth; they also contribute to a profound modification of local conditions of access to resources in an already highly competitive environment. Designers of such projects should be much more cognisant of the consequences of their actions, for example by ensuring that methods are in place to guarantee an equitable and accepted distribution of the resources created. Many development sector professionals are well aware of this imperative. Tasked with urgent action by political or security leaders, however, they often have few safeguards in place to ensure that today’s investments do not lead to future conflicts.

VII. Conclusion

Sahelian countries and their international partners should formulate a more accurate and nuanced definition of the relationship between climate change and violence, and more broadly between resource depletion and violence. To paraphrase Tor Benjaminsen, a geographer specialising in the Sahel, if the wars in the Sahel are attributed to climate change, there is a risk of underestimating the weight of the political dynamics that underlie these conflicts.

Climate change and its effects are certainly of legitimate concern. Nevertheless, the actors involved in this battle would benefit from taking greater account of the impact of different political choices that play a prominent role in allocating access to resources.

[This report originally appeared on crisisgroup.org. It is also available for download as PDF in English and in French.]

 

ArticleClimate Diplomacy
Source
Topic
Climate Change
Security

Region
Sub-Saharan Africa

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Cities

Sorry, no description found.

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Environment & Migration

The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change aggravate the breakdown of eco-system-dependent livelihoods and are likely to become dominant drivers of long-term migration. Natural disasters already cause massive shorter-term displacement and the number of temporarily displaced people is likely to further increase with climate change. For vulnerable populations in vulnerable regions, such as the Sahel zone or the Ganges delta, migration often becomes the sole survival strategy. In order to address climate-related displacement and migration successfully, knowledge of effective adaptation and an improved understanding of how environmental change affects human mobility is essential. 

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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. 

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more