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.
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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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The push-pull forces driving African migration continue to intensify, portending expanding African migration within and off the continent in 2022.
Global warming is contributing to more and extended heat waves, a tripling of droughts, a quadrupling of storms, and a tenfold increase in flooding in Africa since the 1970s—exacerbating security threats on the continent.
Stabilizing northern Mozambique will involve more than defeating violent extremists. It will also require rebuilding trust with marginalized and traumatized local communities.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) will conduct a four-week virtual academic program on leadership in times of uncertainty, unexpected security threats, and exogenous challenges, such as pandemics.
The integration of justice initiatives within conventional security efforts can mitigate conflict, improve societal resilience, and build a stronger culture supportive of the rule of law.
In Africa, 39 out of 54 countries have access to 26,000 nautical miles of coastline and 13 million square kilometers of exclusive economic zones. These areas face numerous security threats including transnational organized crime, illegal fishing, environmental crimes and degradation, and climate change. The 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) includes the adoption of Combined Exclusive Maritime Zone of Africa (CEMZA), with the aim of improving maritime capacity to control this strategic domain, as well as ensuring that these key resources benefit all Africans.