18 October 2021
  • climate security
  • Climate security practice

Climate Security Practice Spotlight - FREXUS project in the Sahel

Improving Security and Climate Resilience in Fragile Contexts through the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus or 'FREXUS' is a new project co-funded by the EU and Germany, aims to improve security and climate resilience in fragile areas of Mali, Chad and Niger. The Sahel region has seen a deterioration of the security situation recently, with many conflicts linked to climate change and natural resource usage. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognises the region as one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change and this, combined with its rapidly growing population and dependence on agriculture and traditional livelihood methods, means that a solution to natural resource conflicts must be found.

In order to address this problem, the objective of FREXUS is to promote peaceful management of natural resources through the Water-Energy-Food nexus approach. Since natural resource scarcity, poverty, conflict and instability often reinforce each other, the FREXUS approach seeks an integrated solution to create stability and enables a virtuous cycle to begin. In order to do this, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) is working to better understand the link between natural resource scarcity and mismanagement, climate change and conflict. To understand these linkages better a global early warning tool has been developed to forecast conflict around natural resources within the short term and local analytical tools are currently under development in a participatory way in order to better understand the causalities of natural resources conflicts in the project intervention zones

The aim of the project is to provide local communities with means to mitigate the negative effects of conflict over resources by sustainably managing resources. This is being carried out by gathering the opinions of all stakeholders before project implementation and so enabling a cross-sectoral understanding of the intersection between resource scarcity and conflict. Once this stage has been carried out, consultation with local communities will map the path for a local convention on natural resources and a path for sustainable development.

So far the project has met with success in some areas and challenges in others. Due to security issues and the pandemic situation, the project had to be managed remotely to a large extent, which made implementation more difficult.  The multisectoral approach is also another challenge because of the several stakeholders involved and the differences in mindset and perceived responsibility between them. The final challenge is the lack of trust between stakeholders, especially towards the state, which makes things difficult, even traditional authorities are often involved with the problems. However, the project has met success with gathering stakeholder opinions on the ground and there is hope the implementation stage will be reached soon.

Read more about the project here.

Access our compilation of climate security practices here

Photo credit: World Bank/ Flickr