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Climate Change and Security in Africa

Video   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on March 7, 2022

This public roundtable assessed the range of climate-related security pressures on the continent and the importance of incorporating environmental security into African security policy.

Climate Change and Security in Africa

Program Materials  

On February 24, 2022, this webinar will take stock of climate-related security pressures on the continent and priorities for mitigating them.

Transhumant Pastoralism, Climate Change, and Conflict in Africa

Recommended research   published by Eoin F. McGuirk and Nathan Nunn, BREAD Working Paper No. 588 on May 4, 2021

A strong correlation exists between erratic wet seasons and conflict in areas where transhumant pastoralism spills into agricultural areas. Adverse rainfall shocks in transhumant pastoral territories force groups to migrate to neighboring agricultural territories before final harvest, increasing the likelihood of conflict. Where transhumant pastoral groups have less political power, the likelihood is even greater. Governments must enforce a balance of grazing and cultivating rights to mitigate the growing threat of increased droughts and declining rain fall in agropastoral zones.

Climate Change Amplifies Instability in Africa

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on April 21, 2021

Climate change is straining livelihoods across broad swaths of Africa, intensifying instability in multifaceted ways. The continent’s ability to adapt to and mitigate these effects will have global repercussions.

How Climate Change Impacts on Regional Security in West Africa: Exploring the Link to Organised Crime

Recommended research   published by Ebimboere Seiyefa, African Security Review on December 23, 2019

Climate-dependent livelihoods in West African countries have been under increasing pressure due to climate change. As a result, the growing need for alternate sources of income has spurred an expansion of the illicit economy and predatory behavior from criminal organizations. West Africa is, thus, facing a dual challenge to both mitigate climate impacts on regions that are conflict prone as well as address structural issues such as poor governance and limited state authority in large swathes of the region.

Change Ahead: Experience and Awareness of Climate Change in Africa

Recommended research   published by Edem E. Selormey, Mavis Zupork Dome, Lionel Osse, and Carolyn Logan, Afrobarometer on August 31, 2019

African countries are among the world’s most vulnerable to and least prepared for climate change. African citizens prioritize issues that are related to climate change, such as water supply, food shortages, and agriculture. Rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns have devastated African countries that depend on agriculture. Only about 3 in 10 Africans are fully “climate change literate,” combining awareness of climate change with basic knowledge about its causes and negative effects. Building climate resilience will require commitment and coordination, backed by significant resources and a population that supports prioritizing it.

Selected Effects of Climate Change on Africa

Infographic   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on November 17, 2016

Africa is more vulnerable to climate change than any other region on the planet. Research has found that climate change is as a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing issues such as political instability, poverty, and unemployment. Conversely, state fragility and poor governance are two of the principle circumstances that cripple communities’ ability to adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, Africa’s population is growing rapidly. This map reflects a few of the ways that climate change the changing environment is straining Africa’s social systems.

Beyond Internal Conflict: The Emergent Practice of Climate Security

Recommended research   published by Joshua W Busby, Journal of Peace Research on December 28, 2020

Challenges to climate-related security include but are not limited to resource competition, shocks to food security, climate-induced migration, transboundary water management, and unintended consequences from climate policies. Mainstreaming a climate perspective into existing programming can help reduce the risks. However, to ensure success in fragile states, progress may sometimes depend on whether the domestic elite finds it is in their self-interest to embrace such policies.

Shoring Up Stability: Addressing Climate and Fragility Risks in the Lake Chad Region

Recommended research   published by Janani Vivekananda, Martin Wall, Florence Sylvestre, Chitra Nagarajan, Adelphi on May 31, 2019

This climate-fragility risk assessment identifies the key drivers for future conflict drawing on hydrological data, satellite observations, and interviews across Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. Dramatic changes in temperature and growing population density have added strain to the areas surrounding Lake Chad. Clearer land rights that allow farmers, fishermen, and pastoralists to use the same land would improve efficiency and reduce the risk of exacerbating conflict.

Climate Violence?

Recommended research   published by Clionadh Raleigh, Oxford Martin School on May 11, 2017

“Climate change causing conflict” arguments are not supported by the evidence. There is no evidence, for example, that pastoralist versus farmer conflicts in Africa are due to climate change. There is, however, much evidence that these conflicts are the result of government interference in local distribution of resources, access to land, and even the disappearance of state presence.

Illegal Logging in Africa and Its Security Implications

Spotlight   published by C. Browne, Catherine Lena Kelly, and Carl Pilgram on August 12, 2022

Illegal logging is a growing feature of transnational organized crime in Africa, often facilitated by the collusion of senior officials, with far-reaching security and environmental implications for the countries affected.

Environment and Security

Topic in Focus   published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on July 29, 2022

Africa is projected to suffer the greatest near-term effects of global warming of any region in the world, despite having contributed the least carbon emissions.