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The interconnectedness of climate change and conflict in Somalia

climate change and conflict in Somalia

The interconnectedness of climate change and conflict in Somalia

The interconnectedness of climate change and conflict in Somalia is an intricate and alarming phenomenon that goes beyond the confines of traditional environmental and geopolitical discourse. The irreversible effects of climate change have added to Somalia’s complex variety of problems, which have been characterized by decades of violence and political instability. These two seemingly unrelated forces have come together to form a dynamic chain of cause and effect, exacerbating weaknesses and setting off intricate spirals of social, economic, and environmental effects.

Somalia, located in the east of Africa near the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, is one of the most severely impacted nations in the world by climate change. With the exception of a mountainous region in the north and sand dunes that spread along the east coast, most of the terrain is made up of plains and plateaus. The Juba and the Shebelle are the two principal rivers that traverse the south.


Despite being located directly on the Equator, Somalia experiences a variety of weather, from semi-arid in the northwest and south to desert in the northeast and center. Due to their heavy reliance on agriculture and livestock, the people of Somalia are particularly vulnerable to changes in rainfall patterns.

Although producing only 0.08 percent of global emissions, Somalia is listed as one of the world’s most susceptible nations to climate change (LSE) and the conflict in the country is stressing the effects.


Extreme weather events are not the only cause of this vulnerability. Years of violence have plagued Somalia. There are territorial disputes in the north; clan rivalries continue in the south and the center of the nation; and government troops continue to engage in combat with armed groups, all of which have significantly added to the suffering there.


2.9 million people were internally displaced as a result in 2021, and the state’s capacity to assist communities in coping with more frequent disasters and increased climate variability is constrained by the ongoing conflict. These two elements are interconnected to the state of the nation.


How climate change and conflict is interconnected in Somalia


Due to lower agricultural output and livestock mortality, leading to job losses, worsening economic conditions, and an increased danger of starvation in Somalia, drought causes acute water and food scarcity. As a result, people are forcefully uprooted from their homes or home regions in order to find food, water, and other resources for survival.


As a result, the combatants in a state-based armed conflict have a motivation to enlist fresh recruits since they can entice them with gifts and other advantages. The conflict is predicted to worsen as the number of contending parties grows.


Armed organizations like Al Shabaab, for instance, might profit from climate change effects by presenting themselves as service and humanitarian groups in the wake of droughts and floods. Because elites may make use of the effects to increase their control over communities and resources, droughts and floods can link local resource conflicts to more widespread insecurity.


Climate disasters are predicted to increase the frequency and severity of most forms of violence, especially when combined with exposed economic assets, weak governmental capacity, and vulnerable populations. For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report demonstrates how the effects of climate change have the potential to exacerbate conflicts by escalating competition over resources both within and between nations.


After years of conflict and the impacts of climate change, 3.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Additionally, a loss of national income brought on by the climate can cause a conflict to break out. A loss of agricultural income brought on by the climate is connected to the length and severity of the conflict, as in the case of Somalia.


Furthermore, since increasing food costs lowers the immediate opportunity cost of fighting, it is anticipated that the prospective cost of revolt will increase. As a result of the additional strain that environmental migrants may place on economic and resource systems, competition for land, employment, education, healthcare, and social services may increase.


In order to prevent the escalation of inter-group tensions caused by climate change into violence and the exploitation of climatic consequences by Al Shabaab and other armed groups, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS) must adapt and improve their analytical and coordination systems.


Somalia is a country known for its tenacity in the face of hardship, which serves as both a warning and a call to action. The intricate web of war, displacement, and vulnerability is intertwined with the tangible effects of climate change, from extended droughts to resource scarcity. These links intensify current problems, endangering not only people’s livelihoods but also the foundation of peace and stability.



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