News / Africa

Researchers Try to Help Prevent Climate Change Conflict

Nepalese villager fetches water from a stream in the village of Bhattegaun (File)
Nepalese villager fetches water from a stream in the village of Bhattegaun (File)

Experts say climate change is contributing to more and more conflicts around the world, especially in Africa. Researchers and aid agencies say they are doing their best to help reduce this trend.

At a panel discussion late Tuesday  in Washington, Jeffrey Stark from the U.S.-based Foundation for Environmental Security and Sustainability described a worrisome scenario he recently encountered in the central cattle corridor of Uganda.

"We heard basically a consensus that the climate has changed in significant kinds of ways. And so we did hear repeatedly that there had been increasing temperatures, drying wetlands, less frequent but more intense rain, hail storms and most significantly unpredictable shifts in seasonal patterns," said Stark. "The pastoralists in the cattle corridor have to travel farther in search of pasture and water and they encounter cultivators who are having difficulties of their own and they often come into conflict."

Panelists said this trend was repeating itself in many parts of Africa.

They said that, beyond raising the alarm on the link between climate change and conflict, researchers must now help governments, civil society groups and aid agencies prevent natural disasters from turning into war.

Stark, who is currently studying the ongoing drought in southern Ethiopia, said it is important for all affected parties to feel they are being helped equally.

"Any intervention in relation to climate adaptation whether for water, or food, or alternative livelihoods has to be fully understood and explicitly acknowledged as mutually beneficial by all sides," he said. "If it is seen in any way to be favoring one group or another it will just cause conflict, so it is a very difficult and delicate situation."

Other parts of the world are not immune to climate change causing conflict.  Janani Vivekananda from the British-based group International Alert has been studying the trend in eastern Nepal, where monsoon rains have been failing in recent years.

"We think of climate change as the risk multiplier, the so-called risk multiplier, as something that will amplify existing social, political and resource stresses, shifting the tipping point at which climate might ignite conflict," said Vivekananda.

Panelists described places with a growing youth population awash in weapons with unresponsive political systems as extremely vulnerable to climate change induced violence.

But Vivekananda said the growing awareness of climate change as a potential problem allowed governments and researchers to discuss these other issues as well.

"Different members of government and of the research community were able to come together and have essentially a discussion on conflict and governance issues but were able to do so because framing it as a climate change discussion meant it was a safe space to bring together these actors and have the discussion," she said.

Cynthia Brady, a conflict advisor from the United States Agency for International Development, was encouraged by the progress being made in the research field of climate change and conflict, particularly with the case studies.

"We are all hopeful that there will be some really significant common lessons learned and that at a minimum we might draw some basic parameters. I hope that we can get there," said Brady. "It might take more than a few case studies but this is kind of our first effort at trying to generate that sort of knowledge."

Brady also stressed the importance of linking work being done at the international negotiation level, such as with the United Nations framework on climate change, and what is taking place at very local levels, where panelists said each climate change scenario has its own particularities, dangers and even opportunities.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid