Conflict and Governance

Development of the new Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement near Kakuma Camp in Turkana County, Kenya.
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 Series

The development community has made strides in cross-sector coordination, programming, and learning, yet understanding of the linkages between governance, conflict, and climate variability and change is still nascent. This series by the Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (ATLAS) project considers how programming that promotes peacebuilding and climate change adaptation simultaneously can produce multiple dividends.

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 Oromia State, Ethiopia, which focuses on this intersection of climate and conflict.

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. The blog details findings from the case studies on how climate-resilient development programs can be implemented more strategically in order to contribute to conflict mitigation and prevention as well as sustainable development.

Recent Resources

Upcoming Events