25 May 2020

Mercy Corps's study on interventions addressing climate-conflict dynamics

Growing consensus regarding the interlinkages between climate change and conflict exists. Rather than further exploring this relationship, Mercy Corps gathered and analysed examples of strategies addressing conflict-climate dynamics. The report aims to support experts, operational organisations and donors in identifying the areas ripe for further development and piloting, avenues for further research.

Three categories are derived from the case studies: (i) the largest group of interventions addressed local conflict at the community level. Such initiatives aimed to prevent conflict to arise from shared resources by addressing resource competition or promoting conflict resolution mechanisms. (ii) A second, smaller group focuses on the system level and integrate climate fragility into national or regional policy plans. (iii) the third group of interventions integrate analytical frameworks in other types of assessments and analysis. 

The majority of the examples collected focused on natural resource management. Few considered the threat of climate change. Besides, interventions often provide short-term solutions addressing livelihood insecurity rather than long-term solutions diversifying livelihood sources. One successful example highlighted in the report did address long-term livelihood adaptation. The Islamic Relief’s program in Mandera Country, Kenya supported Somali youth and women in moving away from over-reliance on pastoralism. This required close cooperation with clan and faith leaders:

“However, young Somali men in Mandera have been reluctant to take up alternative livelihoods such as trades and services jobs (such as electrician, plumbing, computer services, etc.) because they were initially seen as undignified occupations. Engaging clan and faith leaders in advocating for the dignity of these occupations has led to increased interest and enrolment in vocational training activities.”

Read more about the findings, challenges and recommendations in their report here.


Photocredit: Paani Programme/Flickr