Research Paper nº 5

Climate change and security in North Africa. Focus on Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia

Publication date:
Sophie Desmidt, ECDPM

CASCADES Research paper , February (2021)

This research paper takes a regional perspective and looks at the cascading climate risks for three countries in North Africa, namely Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, also known as the Maghreb. This region presents a particular challenge with regards to transboundary or – cascading – climate risks, particularly given its high levels of water stress (and the importance of water in several key sectors and systems in the region) and the prediction that the region is bound to become hotter and drier in the future (IEP 2020).
Cascading climate risks, or transboundary climate risks, are climate risks that cross national and sectoral borders. This means not only that climate change has impacts across boundaries, but also includes the notion of the transboundary or cascading effects of adaptation – positive or negative. Positive or negative adaptation strategies, taken by one or more countries have repercussions for other countries (Hilden et al. 2020). There is a growing body of both qualitative and quantitative analysis on the impact of climate change and how this impacts development and security dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example the extent to which climate change has affected violent conflict between pastoralists and herders. But qualitative studies on cascading climate risks, in particular focusing on North Africa are scarcer (Ide et al. 2020).