Climate Change and Conflict in the Sahel: A Policy Brief on Findings from Niger and Burkina Faso
Julie Snorek, Jeffrey Stark, Katsuaki Terasawa
This policy brief analyzes the potential linkages between climate impacts and conflict in two countries in the heart of the Sahel: Niger and Burkina Faso.
It presents the political, economic, and demographic setting relevant to stability and instability for both. And it examines recent and projected climate trends and vulnerabilities, as well as key institutional weaknesses.
Niger, it found, has weak political institutions and is beset by the spillover effects of instability in neighboring countries. Its population is growing rapidly and living conditions are extremely difficult. It is dependent primarily on rain-fed agriculture and livestock herding. Climate variability can quickly lead to crisis, and both sedentary communities and mobile pastoralists seek to adapt to climate uncertainty in whatever way they can, sometimes leading to circumstances that bring about conflict.
Burkina Faso has not had the sort of ethnic and cultural tensions that have sometimes destabilized Niger, but its political life has been subject to stronger ideological cross-currents. Its economy is dominated by rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism. A clear warming pattern and periods of long dry spells and heavy rainfall have triggered recent flooding.
The brief identifies actions that can build resilience and reduce conflict in each country.
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