Climate-Fragility Risk Brief: Sudan

Foong, Adrian; Benjamin Pohl and Lukas Rüttinger 2020: Climate-Fragility Risk Brief: Sudan. Berlin: CSEN.

In Sudan, the term ‘climate war’ has often been used to draw a direct causal link between climate change and conflict. In reality, these conflicts are far more complex, which can be traced back to a history of regional marginalisation, ethno-occupational tensions, and failures in governance.

This climate-fragility risk brief outlines three ways in which climate change interacts with and contributes to conflict and fragility in Sudan:

  1. Conflict can result directly from increased competition over the distribution, use of and access to natural resources, due to a combination of climate impacts, environmental degradation and a growing population.
  2. Displacement and loss of livelihoods resulting from climate change and conflict can lead to maladaptation, more tensions and conflict, further undermining the resilience of local communities.
  3. Inadequate responses to environmental degradation, climate change and multi-dimensional conflict can undermine the government’s legitimacy and capacity, subsequently feeding into opposition.

Furthermore, this paper outlines two broad but interlinked levels of entry points for addressing climate-fragility risks in Sudan:

  1. The first level is to improve capacities to cope and adapt to climate and environmental change, particularly with regard to water and land management, and in providing agricultural support.
  2. The second level is to improve the management of the knock-on effects of climate and environmental change. This can be achieved through community stabilisation and peacebuilding, livelihood support, as well as actions to address governance challenges.

In short, efforts in building livelihood resilience in Sudan need to be buttressed by broader governance improvements. Moreover, all interventions should be deliberately leveraged to bring communities together, and they need to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, for example women and youth, are empowered.

For further information, please visit the Climate Security Expert Network (CSEN) website.