Conflict Trends & Forecasting, Good Governance, Political Conflict

Conditional Relationships Between Drought and Civil Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author(s): Curtis Bell, Patrick W. Keys
Date: August 15, 2016
Publication Type: Journal Article
Keywords:

Overview:

Few cross-national studies provide evidence of a relationship between environmental scarcity and conflict, although much of the literature claims that destabilizing effects of environmental crises can be mitigated by the right sociopolitical conditions. The authors analyzed drought severity and civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa from 1962 to 2006 and uncovered some surprising results based on which and when sociopolitical conditions influenced the link between scarcity and conflict.

Key Findings:

  • Three sociopolitical conditions influence the link between environmental scarcity and civil conflict: social vulnerability, state capacity, and unequal distribution of resources.
  • Drought does not increase risk of conflict in states thought to be especially vulnerable to scarcity.
  • States with sociopolitical conditions that would favor peace are no less likely to suffer conflict during severe drought than other states.
  • Environmental scarcity is more likely to increase conflict risk where populations have more to lose in comparison to times of more favorable climate conditions.

Related Publications

The Rise of Non-State Actors in Global Governance: Opportunities and Limitations

Written by Kelsey Coolidge, Conor Seyle, Thomas G. Weiss on August 17, 2013

The success of non-state actors does not mean that intergovernmental organizations have no role — quite the contrary.

Read more

The Human Cost of Maritime Piracy 2012

Written by Conor Seyle, Kaija Hurlburt on June 1, 2013

Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), a project of the One Earth Future Foundation; the International Maritime Bureau (IMB); and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) are pleased to present the Human Cost of Maritime Piracy, 2012.

Read more

Burden Sharing Multi-level Governance: A Study of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Written by Conor Seyle, Danielle A. Zach, Jens Vestergaard Madsen on May 26, 2013

The world confronts many threats with transnational dimensions that transcend the the capacity of states to address.

Read more

Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Written by Conor Seyle on April 26, 2013

Past research on business engagement with human rights, peace, and security has identified specific reasons why national and transnational companies may be interested in participating, as well as how they have contributed to protecting human rights

Read more

Governance, Democracy and Peace: How State Capacity and Regime Type Influence the Prospects for War and Peace

Written by Conor Seyle, David Cortright, Kristen Wall on April 26, 2013

This white paper offers a synthetic review of empirical evidence on the elements of state governance that affect interstate and intrastate armed conflict. In the first part of the paper we examine state capacity and institutional quality.

Read more

Does the International Criminal Court Deter Torture?

Written by Lindsay Heger, Eamon Aloyo, Yvonne M. Dutton on March 8, 2013

Despite widespread commitment to the international human rights regime, human rights abuses persist and go unpunished.

Read more

Organizing for Resistance: How Group Structure Impacts the Character of Violence

Written by Lindsay Heger, Danielle Jung, Wendy H. Wong on November 15, 2012

How does the way in which a group organizes change the lethality of the group's attacks? In this article, we argue that groups organized vertically as hierarchies are likely to conduct more lethal attacks.

Read more

Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting: The Cost of Failure in Somalia

Written by John Norris, Bronwyn Bruton on September 19, 2011

This paper explores the staggeringly high costs of the crises response rather than the crises prevention approach by looking at the case of Somalia.

Read more

Pages