Thematic Review on Climate-Security and Peacebuilding

Identifying entry points and pathways for building peace and mitigating conflict in climate-affected and fragile environments.

Date Published
24 Jul 2023
Project Type
Project Status

While many have identified ways that climate change or environmental degradation might affect peace and security concerns, how to best respond to these so-called ‘climate-security’ challenges is still a new area of practice within the peacebuilding field. This Thematic Review helps to assess the state of this emerging field, by taking stock of 72 climate-security or natural resource-related projects supported by the UN Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) between 2016 and 2021. The 74 projects cover a wide range of climate-security and environmental peacebuilding work, from efforts to respond to address farmer-herder tensions exacerbated by changing weather patterns in the Sahel, to projects considering ways to better include women and youth in climate adaptation, to a unique project supporting Pacific islands nations in facing existential threats of sea-level rise.

The PBF investments in this area of peacebuilding suggest that not only is this sort of work possible, but also that it may be one of the most potent areas for peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected spaces. In many of the countries examined, including in Yemen, Burkina Faso, Mali, Somalia, and Sudan, approaching peacebuilding through a climate or environmental lens offered new pathways for addressing conflict drivers and vulnerabilities, in ways that got to the heart of community needs. The results suggest it is indeed possible to engage in meaningful climate adaptation and mitigation work even in the most challenging environments, and that doing so may be key to unlocking peacebuilding and other gains.

Donors providing support: PBSO, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Climate Security Mechanism (CSM), and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

Research outputs:

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