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AFRICOM Commander on Climate Change: Sahel Receding Almost a Mile Per Year

AFRICOM_General Waldhauser

General Waldhauser before the Senate Armed Services Committee addresses climate change in the Sahel, March 13, 2018

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Marine General Thomas D. Walhauser, Commander of U.S. Africa Command (head of all U.S. forces on the African continent, barring Egypt), fielded a question from Sen. Gillibrand regarding the links between climate change, food insecurity and terrorism, and their impacts on AFRICOM’s mission and posture. General Waldhauser noted, in particular, the role of climate change in desertification, stating: “I would say from the climate perspective, is that we have seen the Sahel – the grasslands of the Sahel – recede and become desert almost a mile per year in the last decade or so. This has a significant impact on the herders who have to fight, if you will, for grasslands and water holes and the like.”

Below is General Waldhauser’s full statement on the subject:  (more…)

The Streetlight Effect in Climate-Conflict Research on Africa

somaliaBy Cullen Hendrix, Senior Research Advisor, The Center for Climate and Security

Climate change research on Africa has a streetlight problem: researchers tend to invest more attention on former British colonies and countries with relatively open, stable political systems than other countries, with these factors emerging as more important than objective indicators of “need” like physical exposure to climate change or adaptive capacity. That is, our research seems less guided by objective need and more guided by convenience/safety concerns. (more…)

New Research: Local Food Price Spikes Increase Likelihood of Unrest

 

Protesters marching in Cairo, "Bread, Freedom, Social Justice By, Mariam Soliman from Cairo, Egypt

Protesters marching in Cairo, “Bread, Freedom, Social Justice By, Mariam Soliman from Cairo, Egypt

This is a cross-post by Todd G. Smith via New Security Beat (see the original post for some great questions in the comments section).

From the Roman poet Juvenal’s observations about bread and circuses to Marie Antoinette’s proclamation, “let them eat cake!” the link between food and political stability is well established in pop culture. In academic and policy circles, however, it’s a source of considerable debate.

Since 2008, when the FAO Food Price Index spiked to previously unseen levels, reports of so-called “food riots” have become common. In 2011, researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) released a short paper presenting a compelling correlation between spikes in the FAO Food Price Index in 2008 (and again in 2011) and media reports of food riots across the Middle East and North Africa. (more…)

Assessing Climate Security Vulnerability in Africa: CCAPS’s new online dashboard

Africa_1971_2000_mean_temperatureThe Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) program recently released a new online dashboard that allows users to assess climate and security vulnerability in Africa. According to their website:

CCAPS climate dashboard, an online platform that displays data on physical, socio-economic, demographic, and political insecurities to assess how these factors contribute to “climate security” vulnerability in Africa.” (more…)

Strauss Center Wins Award for Mapping Climate and Security

Africa_1971_2000_mean_temperatureWe’d like to extend a congratulations to the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law for landing the prestigious SAG award (Special Achievements in GIS, NOT the Screen Actors’ Guild), for its trail-blazing work on mapping the security risks of climate change in Africa. The mapping tool of the Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability Program (CCAPS) makes it simpler that it has ever been for “researchers and policymakers to visualize data on climate change vulnerability, conflict, governance, and aid, and to analyze how these issues intersect in Africa.”

The work of the CCAPS program in analyzing the climate change and security nexus in Africa is supported by the Department of Defense’s “Minerva Initiative,” which is one of many key indicators that the U.S. military takes these issues very seriously.

Climate Adaptation A Crucial Part of African Peace and Security

Severe_Drought_Famine_in_East_Africa,_April_1,_2011_-_June_30,_2011A report was just released from a two-day workshop held last November: Climate Change Adaptation and Peacebuilding in Africa. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Institute for Security Studies, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and U.S. Department of State. (more…)

Update: UT Austin Conference on Shifting Conflict Patterns in Africa

Water_distribution_in_Horn_of_AfricaThis coming April 15 & 16 at the University of Texas, Austin there will be a very interesting conference looking at shifting conflict patterns in Africa, and drivers of instability and cooperation.  The conference is co-hosted by the African Center for Strategic Studies, Climate Change and African Political Stability Program (CCAPS), the U.S. Africa Command, and the U.S. Army War College Fellowship.  The conference includes a very impressive lineup of speakers and an extensive look at factors both within and beyond the region that contribute to conflict and cooperation.  From the CCAPS website: (more…)