CASCADES Policy Brief November 2022
Climate change plays an important role in the future of the Sahel. Temperatures, particularly in the northern-central Sahel, could rise 1.5 times faster than the global average. Climate shocks and extreme events such as droughts and heavy rains are projected to become more frequent and severe. These changes are accompanied by other challenges: accelerated population growth, low economic productivity and production diversity, political conflicts and crises, inter-communal violence and violent extremism.
However, the severity of climate impacts on livelihoods, food security, mobility and conflict in the Sahel will depend largely on the future evolution of socio-economic and political conditions in the region. These will ultimately determine the vulnerability and resilience of Sahelian communities to climate impacts.
The evolution of these conditions is uncertain, but we can consider different scenarios to help Sahelian communities and decision-makers prepare for the possible challenges (and opportunities) ahead. Looking ahead to 2050, this paper presents three scenarios for the part of the Sahel comprising Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Each scenario is characterised by a different level of vulnerability and resilience to the future effects of climate change, depending on the social, political and economic parameters that characterise it. Thus, each scenario presents different challenges and opportunities for the security and development of the region. The main purpose of the scenarios is to describe and assess these challenges in order to facilitate anticipatory action.