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Climate Change, Peace, and Security in Africa – The Complex Interlinkages

Climate change has become an increasingly pressing issue in today’s world. From melting glaciers to rising sea levels, the impact of climate change is felt globally. However, the effect of climate change on peace and security is often overlooked. The Horn of Africa region is a prime example of how climate change can become a driver of conflict, making conflict regulation and prevention more challenging. This insight article will briefly delve into the complex interlinkages between climate change, peace, and security in the Horn of Africa and provide insights into designing effective policies, plans, and interventions where climate change and security risks converge.

Insecurity is a common consequence of climate change, especially in areas with fragile regimes, ethnic and religious tensions, and decreased agricultural yield. For instance, droughts in the Horn of Africa have been a significant factor in the Somalia crisis, putting pressure on the socially, economically, and politically vulnerable states. Climate change can also create conflicts over resources due to increased competition, leading to conflicts between pastoralists and farmers over scarce pasture in Kenya and Somalia. Moreover, the mobility patterns of people change, and they move into new environments, creating resource pressures, which can result in elite exploitations and tensions with local communities. Climate change can also lead to migration, putting pressure on the receiving states and regions, which could become a driver of conflict.

One of the most significant impacts of climate change in Africa is the disruption of agricultural systems. As temperatures rise and rainfall patterns shift, crops are failing and pastoralists are losing their herds. This has led to food shortages and increased competition for resources, which can create tensions and even conflict between different groups. For example, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, clashes between farmers and herders over land and water have become increasingly violent and deadly in recent years, in part due to climate change.

Furthermore, climate change is likely to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters in Africa, such as floods, droughts, and wildfires. These disasters can have a devastating impact on communities and infrastructure, causing displacement, loss of life, and economic disruption. In addition, they can also exacerbate existing security challenges by creating opportunities for criminal or terrorist groups to exploit vulnerable communities.

The interlinkages between climate change and security risks are complex, and it requires an integrated climate-security analysis to identify entry points and opportunities for inclusive climate change governance, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has raised the topic of climate mobility in its latest two regional consultative processes, highlighting the need for policymakers, climate and environment specialists, academics, and students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of these interlinkages.

To ensure the development of effective policies, plans, and interventions that successfully integrate climate change, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding, it is crucial for regional governments and international organizations to conduct a comprehensive analysis of climate-related security risks and their impacts on various communities. This analysis should identify the most significant drivers that contribute to these risks and explore strategies for mitigating their impact.

Moreover, it is essential to assess the potential implications of these risks for different groups, including vulnerable populations, and determine the most effective means of supporting them in their recovery. Only by conducting a rigorous analysis and developing a comprehensive understanding of the interconnections between climate change, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding, can regional governments and international organizations hope to design policies and interventions that are truly robust and sustainable in the face of an ever-changing and uncertain world.

In conclusion, climate change is not just an environmental issue but also a security and peace issue. The interlinkages between climate change, peace, and security are complex, and policymakers, development organizations, security experts, and governments must deepen their understanding of these interlinkages to design effective policies, plans, and interventions that integrate climate change, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding. At DaleAgro, we are keen to collaborate with actors in this space to create a more sustainable and peaceful Africa for all.