Pathways to Peace: Addressing conflict and strengthening stability in a changing climate

USAID 2020: Pathways to Peace: Addressing conflict and strengthening stability in a changing climate. Washington, DC: adelphi/Chemonics International Inc.

How can peacebuilding programming produce climate adaptation benefits? What can we learn from past programs that included peacebuilding and climate change adaptation? “Pathways to Peace” draws on the evaluations of such programs and looks at different ways to integrate responses to climate change and conflict risks.

For over a decade, there has been a discourse around climate change, conflict and fragility. On the one hand, climate is a threat multiplier that can lead to or increase instability; on the other hand, peacebuilding and resilience development outcomes can be improved by addressing climate change and fragility together. This discourse has led to widespread acknowledgment that if strategies to address these challenges do not consider their interdependent nature, they will fail or, in the worst case, exacerbate fragile situations. Importantly, they will also miss the co-benefits and synergies of including resilience building in climate change adaptation in order to reduce the need for repeated humanitarian assistance and to address chronic vulnerabilities.

However, a comprehensive review of evidence and practice from development projects that have attempted to address compound climate–fragility risks is lacking. This paper aims to address this gap based on lessons learned from a review of USAID programs in the Horn of Africa, as well as other relevant programs that included peacebuilding and climate change adaptation (CCA). These programs are mostly in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) where communities typically have a high dependency on natural resources for their livelihoods and experience a certain degree of conflict that could be attributed to a combination of climate, socioeconomic and political stressors.

The report synthesises lessons learned, develops and tests a theory of change, and offers recommendations for integrating approaches that consider and address compound climate-fragility risks. It also includes a literature review on “Approaches to integrating climate change adaptation in peacebuilding programming”.