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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Publication | 2023

Climate change, peace and security in Africa

Climate change and its impacts on natural and human systems are increasingly evident globally. Africa is highly vulnerable and is experiencing the burden of climate change impacts of climate change. The frequency and intensity of extreme events are projected to increase with more and longer-lasting heat waves, droughts, flooding and cyclones. These impacts have already adversely affected millions of Africans by disrupting livelihoods, degrading the ecosystems, and intensifying insecurity at local, national, and regional levels. Climate projections show that various parts of Africa will continue to experience extreme weather events which will impact virtually all sectors, including modifying the state of peace and security. Climate change is likely to lead to resource shortages, for example, by disrupting agricultural cycles, causing extreme weather patterns, drought, or reducing water resources. Shrinking resources may aggravate conflict in already violent locations or create new conflicts. While the evidence on the direct causative link between environmental conditions and the start of violent conflict is weak, there is significant indication that resource constraints can and frequently do exacerbate existing conflicts. Resource constraints may incite violence, particularly in rural communities characterized by growing competition over shrinking resources that supports livelihoods. Understanding ways in which peace and security in different regions of Africa are impacted by climate change is crucial for adequate planning and early action. This brief highlights new knowledge based on the latest assessments of the impacts of climate change on peace and security to support and assist policy-makers in contextualizing their national circumstances and preparing to address existing and emerging security risks.