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How does climate change affect peace and security in South Sudan?

Published: 11 Mar 2021

How does climate change affect peace and security in South Sudan?

South Sudan is highly vulnerable to climate change, including flooding, droughts and, most recently, a locust infestation. Long-term climate change, like a gradual increase in temperature, and short-term changes, like increased flooding, have indirect and interlinked implications for peace and security in South Sudan.

  • Flooding and droughts significantly disrupt livelihood patterns and food-security and may result in temporary displacement or longer-term migration. Such shocks exacerbate vulnerabilities and weaken the resilience and adaptive capacity of agriculture-dependent communities; they can heighten competition over natural resources, sometimes leading to cattle raiding and communal conflict.
  • Unpredictable annual variation and extreme weather events, like flooding and droughts, affect pastoralist mobility patterns and routes, and farmers’ agricultural production. These changes may exacerbate tensions between herders and farmers, often in connection with land, grazing, water and communal conflicts.
  • Female-headed households are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as most depend on agriculture to sustain their families, and rely on natural resources like firewood and water.
  • Climate-related livestock losses compound ongoing rivalries, increasing the risk of cattle raiding, which can trigger retaliations, communal conflicts, displacement and the growth of new or existing armed groups.

The Climate-related Peace and Security Risks project launches its second fact sheet on South Sudan ahead of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the renewal of the mandate for the UN Mission in South Sudan on the 15th of march 2021.

The project is jointly undertaken by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) with funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims to generate reliable, relevant, timely and actionable information and analysis on climate-related peace and security risks for selected countries and regions on the UN Security Council agenda. Its main product is a series of fact sheets on countries on the agenda of the Security Council.

Read more in the fact sheet which contains recommendations on addressing climate change here: Fact Sheet on South Sudan

Further reading:

See all the fact sheets and appendices from the Climate-related Peace and Security Risks (CPSR) project here.

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