11 December 2020

Sudan's complex climate - fragility risks

Agriculture in Sudan is vital for the livelihoods of most of the population, making them vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  From rising temperatures to prolonged drought seasons, agricultural communities will likely to endure hardships providing for themselves and contributing to the countries overall economy. Sudan’s stability is therefore at risk.

A closer look into the region’s history and ethnic-diversity reveals complex patterns of factors that are further contributing to the ongoing instability. Climate change is only adding another layer of fragility onto the already turbulent political situation. For example, in Darfur, the link between conflict, famine and climate change has been recognised. However,  although climate change is often linked to the conflict in Darfur, this does not cover the complexity of the situation, in which historical marginalization and ethnic tensions also play an important role. These factors are also coupled with the poor response from the government, bringing people's livelihoods at greater risk.  

This climate - fragility risk brief by adelphi outlines three dimensions where climate change interacts and drives instability in Sudan.

1) The combined impact of climate change, environmental degradation and population growth is contributing to increasing the competition over the use, distribution and access to natural resources.

2) The resilience of local communities decreases when displacement and loss of livelihood due to climate change increases.

3) The central government loses legitimacy when it fails to respond to environmental degradation and conflicts, in turn, feeding opposition.

The risk brief also proposes interlinked and broad entry points to address climate fragility risks in Sudan:

1) Improve the capacity to adapt to climate change, in particular with land and water management.

2) Improve the management of climate change response. This is done through (1) stabilization and community peacebuilding to avert unequal access to resources; (2) Supporting livelihood to boost resilience through diversity livelihood sources; (3) Addressing governance challenges to protect local initiatives on natural resources management. 

Read the full climate - fragility risk brief here. 

Photocredit: Rita Willaert/Flickr