Climate Change and Conflict: Findings and Lessons Learned from Five Case Studies in Seven Countries   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Executive Summary: "Given the many potential risks, vulnerabilities, and impacts on human security resulting from climate change detailed in the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, it is natural that policymakers, researchers, and development experts should ask, 'Will climate change cause conflict in the developing world?' These five field-based case studies in seven countries (Uganda, Ethiopia, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and Peru) demonstrate that trying to isolate a single chain of climate-conflict causality is not particularly helpful or productive. With many factors potentially contributing to conflict in each of these countries, answering the question with a flat 'yes' is inaccurate and inadequate. Yet, answering the question with a flat 'no' is counterproductive and misleading, since there are significant and identifiable interactions between climate change (or variability) and known conflict risks in each of these fragile locales. […] The five case studies in these seven countries show that climate change--especially as reflected in observed temperature data; reports by local inhabitants of increases in severe, erratic weather; and consistent accounts from agriculturalists and pastoralists of marked changes in seasonality--has an appreciable impact on livelihoods and economic development, rights and responsibilities of citizens and the state, resource governance and the performance of political institutions, and relations among privileged and disadvantaged identity groups. A large body of literature indicates that these are important and enduring conflict variables. […] While these five case studies provide only a limited comparative base, it is possible to identify three climate-related patterns of change and four areas of institutional challenges that are likely to be relevant and consequential for many other developing countries in Africa and Latin America."

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United States Agency for International Development: http://www.usaid.gov/
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