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Climate Change, Scarcity and Conflicts in the Sahel

Abstract

Among policy-makers, a narrative of a climate-desertification-conflict nexus holds a strong position, in particular related to discussions about the African Sahel. The narrative says that global climate change leads to drought and desertification, which result in resource scarcity causing migration and the emergence of new conflicts, or triggering existing, latent conflicts. This chapter first presents a critical assessment of the literature focusing on scarcity as a main causal factor behind conflicts. Thereafter, it demonstrates, through a discussion of conflicts in Mali, how the narrative about a climate change-desertification-conflict nexus in the Sahel is misleading and apolitical, since it neglects the context of significant historical and political causes of conflicts.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Cited from the website of The Center for Climate and Security from a blog on the situation in Mali 7 https://climateandsecurity.org/2012/04/23/mali-migration-militias-coups-and-climate-change/

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Benjaminsen, T.A., Svarstad, H. (2021). Climate Change, Scarcity and Conflicts in the Sahel. In: Political Ecology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56036-2_8

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