The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) have released a paper on Perspectives on Addressing Climate-Related Security Risks from the Horn of Africa. The Paper is a result of a two-year (2018-2020) process by the Horn of the Africa Climate Security Working Group (HoA-CSWG) convened by the three organisations. The Working Group brought together representatives drawn from civil society and experts from the Horn of Africa region to analyse the complexity of violent conflict in the region and its relationship with climate change and identify locally-anchored ideas to develop better responses to climate-related security risks in the region. The objective was to jointly analyse the regional dimension of climate related security risks, suggest mechanisms to address these and develop criteria to climatise ongoing efforts of conflict prevention and peace processes. The following criteria thus represent an agreement among the members of the Group.
Climate-related changes compound the prevailing social, economic and political challenges, especially in regions such as the Horn of Africa, where agriculture and pastoralism are an important source of livelihood. With the deprivation of livelihoods, climate impacts increase security risks and the likelihood of violent conflicts. The risks that ensue include heightened political tensions within and between countries of the region, as well as violent conflict – which can lead to forced displacement. Furthermore, climate-related security risks increase the challenges for conflict prevention and regulation in the Horn of Africa region. Responding to climate-related security challenges requires an integrated approach that combines knowledge on climate risks with the social and political realities of the region. To improve responses, it is therefore important to interrogate how conflicts and conflict-related migration in the Horn of Africa are affected by climate change and to identify and develop adequate measures for conflict prevention and resolution that are regionally owned, without taking accountability away from violent actors. It is important to not leave such an interrogation and identification to governments and experts alone, but actively involve civil society representatives and those most affected by climate change at the community level.
Consequently, climate-related security risks are now prominently discussed at different levels in the region. The topic has garnered the attention of the UN Security Council, where climate change was recognised as a risk to peace. The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) dedicated its 828th meeting on February 19, 2019, to an open session on Climate Change, Peace and Security, and is continuously developing its climate security frameworks. Climate change and security was also discussed at a side event at the High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations in July 2019, and specifically on Somalia in February 2020.
Building on the assessment of the climate security context in the region, members of the Horn of Africa Climate Security Working Group jointly analysed the regional dimension of climate related security risks, suggested mechanisms to address these and developed a criteria to “climatise” ongoing efforts of conflict prevention and peace processes.
The Working Group, through periodic meetings between 2018 and 2020, as well as specific research papers, developed the criteria which can be found in the paper http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/iez/16301.pdf on addressing climate security in the region.