Understanding the relationship between climate change and violent conflict

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    • A Stanford study on the relationship between climate change and conflict found “Intensifying climate change will increase the future risk of violent armed conflict within countries, according to a study published in the journal Nature. Synthesizing views across experts, the study estimates climate has influenced between 3% and 20% of armed conflict risk over the last century and that the influence will likely increase dramatically. Even in a scenario of 2 degrees Celsius of warming beyond preindustrial levels – the stated goal of the Paris Climate Agreement­ – the influence of climate on conflicts would more than double, rising to a 13% chance.”

      In recent times key indicators to conflict have revealed that there exists a relationship between climate change and conflict. One of these indicators is the scarcity of resources created by the effects of climate change which leads to struggle for the limited resources by users or beneficiaries of these.

      According to an article by International Growth Centre (IGC), a 2017 study it carried shows that data from Africa estimate a one standard deviation increase in temperature causes a 10.8% average increase in conflict incidents and 16.2% average increase in the violent crime rate. For instances, in the North-East region of Nigeria, the continues encroachment of the Sahara Desert necessitated by climate change have led to the migration of herders from that region to mostly the North-Central region which makes available green lands for pasturing inadequate to meet the needs of farmers and herders which often leads to conflict as in Plateau state and Banue state.

      With the relationship that exist between climate change and conflict, it therefore means that there is a great room for collaboration between climate change actors and those that work in the field of mitigating and preventing violent conflicts. Now, using available data on Herder-Farmer conflict as experience from the North-East region to the North-Central region, both climate change actor and those working to address violent conflict could collaborate to promote climate change adaptation as it fits the issue in contention.

      As in the words of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley at Cop26 in Glasgow, “What the Planet needs are actions now”. This implies galvanizing voices of climate change actors and those working to address conflict to have ambitions that leads to actions.

      As a discussion post, what are the key considerations when trying to understand the relationship between climate change and conflict? How can climate actors collaborate more effectively with those working to address violent conflict? How can both sectors/fields work together to improve the effectiveness of our interventions?

    • Very interesting! I would love to hear more from climate actors and peacebuilders who are already collaborating – what do they see as promising practices? What are challenges they frequently see emerging?

      One that comes to mind would be the different timeline and level of engagement when it comes to responding to conflict and violence as they emerge, and being able to address the actual climate issue that is triggering these conflicts. How can we both respond to immediate issues, but also engage in the long term so that we can actually address climate change consequences? And given the global nature of the issue, but the very localized consequences, how can we navigate the need to engage very locally on immediate response, but also globally to address root causes?

    • This is a great opening discussion point to this thread, Nankpak! I wonder if the peacebuilding field, as its currently positioned, is too focused on integrating conflict sensitivity into climate programming? Rather than being a bit more progressive in pursuing climate positive responses to violent conflict? Maybe that framing is a bit too simple, but there is a huge amount of complementarity between the two fields, so I’m keen to identify future opportunities for further coordination/collaboration.

    • Je pense qu’il est nécessaire d’identification de réponses complémentaires aux efforts existants pour faire face au changement climatique et aux conflits

      D’abord, en explorant d’autres mécanismes/initiatives pour la régulation du changement climatique et des conflits puis, en impliquant les acteurs et les institutions qui pourraient être engagés pour un fonctionnement efficace du mécanisme. Enfin, pouvoir contribuer aux efforts de la paix et sécurité à travers les mécanismes de régulation de conflit climatique.

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