Klimatkonflikter? Klimatets betydelse för två lokala konflikter i Mali
Publish date: 2016-06-22
Report number: FOI-R--4244--SE
Written in: Swedish
- land use
This report discusses how climate variability can have an impact on local conflicts, on the basis of two examples from the inland delta of Mali. As regards the relationship between climate change and conflict, much of the literature can be divided into two different perspectives. A large part is inspired by Homer Dixon's (1994) thoughts on "resource wars" and is based on the idea that increased competition for declining resources leads to armed conflicts. A second perspective found in the literature argues that it is rather the ability (or failure) of institutions to adapt to climate change and climate variability that determinates the occurrence of violent conflicts, rather than climate itself. This study relates mainly to the second perspective and emphasizes the complexity of the relationship of climate change and conflict instead of searching for causal links. The focus is on the local level and the aim is to provide examples of how climate variability is included as one of several elements in local conflicts. Regarding the effect of climate variability (in these specific cases rainfall) on the studied conflicts, the case studies show that it can play a role in conflict dynamics. However, the case studies do not suggest a clear causal link between drought and local conflicts. It was only when the normal mechanisms for conflict solutions failed that resource scarcity led to violent conflict. The conflicts presented in the study should therefore not be interpreted as driven by climate variability and lack of resources, instead it is better to see the environment as one of several factors that affect the conflicts.