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The Role of Climate Change in the Darfur Crisis

Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Located in western Sudan, Darfur covers 500,000km2, and has a population of 7.4 million. The Darfur crisis started in 2003, with a tragic cost in human life and population displacement. Climate change is the root cause of the crisis. This is not to diminish the political, socio-economic, and ethnic factors. The Darfur crisis is so complex because a multitude of factors are operative simultaneously. The impact of climate change has been well documented in several other ecosystems. The sedentary farmers of the Fur tribe and the nomadic tribes have enjoyed peaceful coexistence for centuries. The Fur and other sedentary tribes own the land and the nomads have the right to use the rangeland; when minor clashes arose, they were quickly diffused by tribal leaders.

Conflicts gradually developed from low to high intensity, fuelled by shrinkage in natural resources caused primarily by climate change. While precipitation in Northern Darfur has dropped by 30% over the last 80 years, resulting in repeated bouts of drought, livestock and human populations increased significantly. A political solution to the crisis, though essential, will not remove the underlying causes of the conflict driven by climate change. The solution is robust development of the region based on strategies of adaptation to climate change, which will reduce poverty and provide alternative livelihoods. The industrialized nations, who caused climate change, are obliged to fund such an endeavour. Lessons learned from Darfur will hopefully prevent such a tragedy from happening elsewhere.


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Conflict
  • Crisis
  • Darfur
  • Fur
  • Natural resources
  • Nomads

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-14776-0_48
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Hakim, S. (2011). The Role of Climate Change in the Darfur Crisis. In: Leal Filho, W. (eds) The Economic, Social and Political Elements of Climate Change. Climate Change Management. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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