Policy and Research Papers
Building peace in post-conflict countries is rarely, if ever, straightforward. International actors often face insurmountable challenges when programming and implementing their projects. In addition to stopping violence, the aim of their work is to set states and societies on a peaceful path. Yet, the food-security situation clearly shows that the indirect, long-term effects of war further exaggerate this challenge.
The Lake Chad Basin is sadly one of the key examples of this dynamic. The ongoing insurgency in the region and the continued shrinking of Lake Chad (which is the main source of livelihood for millions of inhabitants) are causing a massive humanitarian crisis, intensifying the fragile security situation and increasing the cross-border displacement of populations.
The interconnectedness of food security, natural resources, peace and conflict is not new to anyone familiar with fragile and conflict-affected states. The question is how to reverse this negative spiral.
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This essay reflects upon the climate-related security risks facing Africa and reviews the current policy responses. It contends that broad AU member state support for an AU Special Envoy for Climate Change and Security would be a viable strategy that strengthens the AU’s response to climate risks. The idea of the envoy—which stems from the AU’s Peace and Security Council meeting in May 2018—is an opportunity to pre-empt migration and forced displacement and moreover, ‘climate-proof’ the AU’s peace and security architecture.
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Eight of the ten countries hosting the most multilateral peace operations personnel in 2018 are located in areas highly exposed to climate change. As such, climate change is not just an issue of human security—it is transforming the entire security landscape. Nonetheless, international efforts to build and maintain peace are not yet taking these emerging challenges systematically into account. This policy brief illustrates how climate change impacts the efficacy of peacebuilding, specifically the aim to provide peace and security; to strengthen governance and justice; and to ensure social and economic development.
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