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Über dieses Buch

Millions of people are already affected by weather-related shocks every year in West Africa and climate change is highly likely to increase these threats. In the wake of climate change, rising temperatures, increasingly irregular rainfall and more frequent natural hazards will endanger the ways of life of vulnerable population groups in this region and destabilize their human security. A surge in violence and conflicts could take place. One of the conflict constellations could be between farmers and herders. These groups are highly vulnerable to climate change due to their dependence on natural resources Millions of people are already affected by weather-related shocks every year in West Africa and climate change is highly likely to increase these threats. In the wake of climate change, rising temperatures, increasingly irregular rainfall and more frequent natural hazards will endanger the ways of life of vulnerable population groups in this region and destabilize their human security. A surge in violence and conflicts could take place. One of the conflict constellations could be between farmers and herders. These groups are highly vulnerable to climate change due to their dependence on natural resources for their subsistence. Furthermore, they are historically prone to enter into conflict over issues of access to natural resources. However, social, economic and political circumstances fundamentally influence environmental conflicts. There might thus be opportunities to face the societal challenges of climate change in a peaceful way and the political and institutional framework could play an important role in reducing conflict and violence. In order to explore such a path, this study analyses the potential of political factors (policies and institutions) for the reduction of climate-change-induced or aggravated conflicts between farmers and herders. After a theoretical demonstration, a case study of agro-pastoral conflicts in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana is conducted. their subsistence. Furthermore, they are historically prone to enter into conflict over issues of access to natural resources. However, social, economic and political circumstances fundamentally influence environmental conflicts. There might thus be opportunities to face the societal challenges of climate change in a peaceful way and the political and institutional framework could play an important role in reducing conflict and violence. In order to explore such a path, this study analyses the potential of political factors (policies and institutions) for the reduction of climate-change-induced or ‑aggravated conflicts between farmers and herders. After a theoretical demonstration, a case study of agro-pastoral conflicts in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana is conducted.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
Scepticism related to climate change has given way in the past few years as evidence of the impact of climate change has increased. There are fears that adverse environmental transformations, including the reduction in the availability or quality of natural resources such as water and land, can lead to conflicts. The human security of communities whose livelihoods depend heavily on these resources is likely to be destabilized. Farmers and herders of West Africa fall into this category. Conflicts regularly occur between these groups and the projected impacts of climate change, which include more irregular rainfall and hence less access to freshwater resources, could fuel the violence further. However, social, economic and political factors can mitigate the environmental impacts of climate change and their potential for causing conflict. Research into reducing climate-change-related conflict through political levers, the focus of this study, is not yet very profuse. This introductory chapter sets out the objectives of this study, namely, the identification of political factors that could contribute to conflict reduction in the climate-change-impacted settings of West Africa. The approach adopted involves defining a theoretical model to support the argument and then testing hypotheses on the potential of political factors for conflict reduction.
Charlène Cabot

Theoretical Framework

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Climate Change and Farmer–Herder Conflicts in West Africa

Abstract
Nomadic and semi-nomadic herders such as the FulBe have a long history of migrating and also of building relationships with various sedentary farming populations in West Africa. These contacts can take various forms, from coexistence to cooperation or competition and even to conflicts over shared natural renewable resources, namely fresh water and land, which can be referred to as Common-Pool Resources (CPRs). The effects of climate change are already being felt in these regions, and the IPCC forecasts that they will significantly increase, with more irregular precipitation and rising temperatures. These changes could aggravate land degradation and increase the frequency of droughts, and consequently lead to declining food production and a decline in the availability of water. Climate change is thus putting a strain on delicate relationships between farmers and herders, because of its effect on CPRs. Herders and farmers of the drylands of West Africa are indeed highly vulnerable to changes in the availability of CPRs. In a context where the object of the conflict plays (or is perceived to play) a key role in the survival of the parties, there are risks of an escalation to violence and a destabilization of the security of both communities. Agro-pastoral conflicts might increase in frequency and intensity in the coming years. However, a conflict reduction lens can be applied to these climate-change-induced or -aggravated farmer–herder conflicts over CPRs in general and in particular in West Africa.
Charlène Cabot

Chapter 3. Causal Linkages Between Environmental Change and Conflict

Abstract
There are many approaches to the causal linkages between environmental change and conflict. This chapter reviews the different schools of thought (including both theoretical considerations and supporting studies). The chapter begins by introducing one of the best-known approaches, inspired by Malthusianism, which stipulates that environmental change and population growth will lead to environmental scarcity and induce conflicts motivated by the need to control the remaining environmental resources. Critiques and alternative perspectives are then presented. They highlight, among other issues, that the role of environmental drivers should not be overestimated. Current research and available evidence does not allow clear-cut conclusions on the potential of climate change to provoke conflicts. However, there are indications that climate change can be a threat multiplier that destabilizes communities and induces or aggravates small-scale conflicts over natural resources. In combination with a range of socio-economic and political factors, climate change impacts such as scarcity (drought, resource degradation), volatile precipitations and reduced economic growth can fuel conflict potential. Nevertheless, non-violent outcomes are possible.
Charlène Cabot

Chapter 4. The Importance of Political Factors in Reducing Conflict and Upholding Security

Abstract
Climate change is a threat multiplier that can, under a set of socio-economic and political conditions, destabilize the security of vulnerable communities. Building on the findings of the previous chapter (Chap. 3), Chap. 4 shows that political factors are determinant in the destabilization of security and escalation to violence. The stages of the causal pathway to conflict are modelled using prisms from the human, sustainable livelihoods and environmental security theory and with a focus on farmer–herder conflicts. This model highlights how different policies and institutional structures can influence the causal chain between environmental change and violence. With reference to the PEISOR model, the argument is advanced that political factors can play a fundamental role not only in provoking and fuelling but also in reducing climate-change-induced or -aggravated conflicts. A range of policy levers, from mitigation and adaptation to development and reform of institutional structures, can reduce conflict.
Charlène Cabot

Empirical Analysis

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. The Potential of Political Factors for the Reduction of Climate-Change-Induced or -Aggravated Farmer–Herder Conflicts

Abstract
Political factors, i.e. policies and political institutions, play an important aggravating or mitigating role on the pathway from climate change to conflict. Identifying these political factors could lead to reforms that reduce conflict risks and maintain human security in communities impacted by climate change. Farmer–herder conflicts are often motivated by competition over the use of common-pool resources (CPRs), and the CPR management literature puts forward principles for the design of institutions that ensure environmental sustainability as well as peaceful resource-sharing. This study relies heavily on this theoretical approach. Combining it with other theoretical approaches and case studies leads to the formulation of three hypotheses: (1) implementation of integration policies by the central state reduces conflict; (2) equitable access to land tenure reduces conflict; and (3) a decentralized and participative political system reduces conflict. The chapter that follows (Chap. 5) details the formulation and justification of the hypotheses, as well as the important aspects to keep in mind while testing their validity during the case study (Chap. 6).
Charlène Cabot

Chapter 6. Case Study: Farmer–Herder Conflicts in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana

Abstract
This chapter is a case study that tests hypotheses in order to determine if political factors can reduce violence in cases of climate-change-induced or -aggravated agro-pastoral conflicts over natural resources. Three West African countries were selected because of their common socio-economic and environmental characteristics and because they host comparable farmer–herder conflicts: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The level of farmer–herder conflicts is estimated to have risen between 1960 and 2000 in the three countries. This increase took place against a background of increasing impacts from climate change. The dynamics of farmer–herder conflicts are put into perspective by the study of three political factors: integration policies, land tenure, and decentralized and participative institutions. The determinants for the variation in conflict level differ for each country as do the policies and institutions (although all three countries have somewhat centralized regimes). The evidence that can be drawn from comparison between and within cases (over time) confirms two of the three hypotheses. Across the three countries, lower levels of conflict are found when integration policies are implemented and land rights are distributed equitably between users. Evidence for the last hypothesis is less conclusive: both centralized and decentralized authorities proved able to either fuel or mitigate conflicts. However, participative processes seem to reduce conflicts when implemented in an inclusive manner.
Charlène Cabot

Conclusion

Frontmatter

Chapter 7. Conclusion

Abstract
The linkages between climate change and conflict are complex. Despite deep-reaching fears, increasingly severe environmental impacts might not necessarily lead to more conflicts and violence. The livelihoods of vulnerable communities are being challenged but individuals can employ a range of coping strategies which may or may not include resorting to violence. The evidence connecting climate change to large-scale armed conflicts is very limited but the potential of climate change to act as a threat multiplier is generally recognized, especially in the case of small-scale conflicts such as those taking places between farmers and herders. In all conflict constellations, non-environmental factors, including political ones, play a fundamental role. Both the theoretical demonstration and the case study have proved that political factors can reduce climate-change-induced or -aggravated conflicts. Policies or institutional reforms that could reduce conflicts and violence include comprehensive integration policies, equitable distribution of land rights, and opportunities for participating in conflict management and policy-making. A limited set of variables was tested qualitatively for the case of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana from 1960 to 2000. Expanding the analysis to more variables, more countries and more population groups and to a longer time frame, as well as integrating a quantitative analysis, would reinforce the findings and support a theoretical generalization.
Charlène Cabot

Backmatter

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