Climate Change and Conflict: Findings and Lessons Learned from Five Case Studies in Seven Countries
This synthesis report includes five case studies that consider the intersection of climate change and conflict. The case studies – aggregated from the seven countries of Uganda, Ethiopia, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and Peru – demonstrate that isolating a single chain of climate-conflict is not a productive choice due to the complex exacerbating factors that already affect conflict. However, experts agree that due to the complex nature of conflict dynamics, it would be incomplete and flawed analysis if climate change wasn’t taken into account.
The report case study conclusion includes details about the impact of climate change on several “important and enduring conflict variables” (supported by a large body of peer-reviewed literature) that can also be a potential threat multiplier, stressor, or trigger for potential conflict. Importantly, the case studies also directly assess the affected individuals, communities, and institutions that are most likely to take place in or refrain from conflict. These stakeholders’ participation in resilience initiatives may be key to the future success or failure of climate change programs.
Excerpt from the report:
Although the five case studies took place over the course of several years, and concepts, terminology, and methodology evolved somewhat during that time, they all focused on four basic research questions, modified as appropriate in each case:
- Does (or could) climate change/variability contribute to the conditions for organized, political violence?
- Does climate change/variability contribute to circumstances with high-conflict potential linked to the access and use of natural (or economic) resources by specific livelihood groups, identity groups, or urban dwellers? If so, how and why?
- What is the relationship of either of these with resilience?
- What are possible programmatic options or approaches to enable USAID (or others) to invest more effectively in programs or initiatives to build resilience and prevent or mitigate conflict?
In addressing these core questions, the CCCAF raises case-specific questions about the factors mentioned above and the way they interact with the effects of climate change. While presented sequentially, the seven phases of the CCCAF allow for continual feedback for revisiting and revising preliminary information and findings.