As climate variability increases, so will its potential to impact conflict and governance. Climate change will act as a “threat multiplier,” straining public resources, aggravating fragile situations, and potentially leading to violent conflict. Countries with weak governments will be particularly at risk, as governments may become overburdened by efforts to absorb the stresses and shocks associated with climate change.
In many poor countries, development promises jobs, housing, and economic opportunity. Climate impacts on land, food, and water will strain those efforts and create difficulties for governing bodies. Extreme weather events and disasters, sea-level rise and coastal degradation may all limit the ability of governments to provide basic services and protect their citizens. Inability or unwillingness of government institutions to manage the impacts of climate change may cause political unrest; at the same time, climate change adaptation and mitigation programming that do not take a conflict-sensitive approach have the potential to contribute to conflict dynamics, undermining the adaptation and mitigation aims they strive to achieve and risking serious harm to communities.
Building the capacity of local, regional, and national governments will allow them to take measured and timely steps to respond to climate change impacts. Improved planning and climate vulnerability assessments can give governments the tools to address issues posed by a changing climate proactively. Improved access to justice and strengthened conflict resolution mechanisms can offer citizens alternatives to violent conflict, and collaborative approaches to adaptation can bring communities together in ways that transcend political and social boundaries.
Pathways to Peace: Addressing Conflict and Strengthening Stability in a Changing Climate
This series by the Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (ATLAS) project considers how programming that promotes peacebuilding and climate change adaptation can simultaneously produce multiple dividends.View Content
Lessons Learned from the Peace Centers for Climate and Social Resilience
In recent decades, as droughts have become more frequent and severe across arid and semi-arid areas of the Horn of Africa, outbreaks of conflict among pastoralist groups have also been on the rise. This report shares lessons learned from a pilot project in three districts of Ethiopia, which focuses on this intersection of climate and conflict.View Content
Adapting Development Programs in the Face of Climate Change and Conflict
This blog examines USAID’s Findings and Preliminary Lessons from Uganda, Ethiopia, and Peru report. In all three countries, climate change is disrupting communities’ long-held understandings of their environments.View Content