CASCADES Report June 2021

Climate Change, Development and Security in the Central Sahel

Publication date:
06/2021
Author:
Oriol Puig Cepero, Sophie Desmidt, Adrien Detges, Fabien Tondel, Pia Van Ackern, Adrian Foong, and Jan Volkholz
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CASCADES Report June 2021

This report sheds light on the possible effects of climate change on development and security in the Central Sahel, namely in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It examines the interactions between climatic stresses, food security, and conflict risk, by highlighting the region’s key socio-economic and political conditions, and how these could shape future vulnerability to the effects of global warming. It further discusses existing measures and policies and how these could be improved to increase the region’s resilience to climate- related challenges. Climate variability is a key issue in the Central Sahel, owing to a heavy reliance on rainfed agriculture, pastoralism and other climate- sensitive livelihoods. Yet, its effects need to be understood in a wider social and political context.

The European Union (EU) and its member states are heavily invested in the region through their foreign, security, and development policies. In order to be successful, and to contribute to transnational cooperation with African partners in a meaningful way, they need to consider the challenges and opportunities related to climate change and politically- and context-sensitive climate change adaptation, which are discussed in this report.

This report uses a mixed methods approach, combining qualitative literature review, quantitative data analysis, future climate impact projections, semi-structured interviews, a survey with more than 200 regional experts, as well as a participatory scenario planning exercise. It provides a multifaceted overview of climate-related challenges and vulnerabilities in the region, combined with the perspectives of local experts and stakeholders. These would help overcome preconceived ideas, while also considering alternative political pathways in the wake of climate change.