Water Stress and Conflicts in Africa

Water scarcity is widely believed to be a common source of violent conflict. However, in a recent policy brief I wrote with Clionadh Raleigh, we show that a direct water-conflict link is largely refuted by empirical research. In the conventional narrative, it is believed that population growth coupled with scarce water resources will lead to… Read more »

What Do the Experts Think?

Connections between climate and security continue to be debated inside and outside of academia. Last week, I attended a workshop at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, together with Nina von Uexkull and nine other invited participants representing a variety of academic disciplines and viewpoints, to discuss impacts of climate variability and… Read more »

Making Our Planet Great Again: Climate Diplomacy and Cooperation at COP23

A measured dose of optimism and small steps towards implementing the Paris Agreement were overall good outcomes for this year’s climate conference held from November 6-17, known officially as the 23rd Convention of the Parties (COP23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Despite global security concerns, there was little of the rhetoric from earlier COPs where the security implications… Read more »

Let the Desertification Zombie Rest in Peace

The myth that African agriculture and livestock farming is causing desertification originated early in the colonial times. The reason was that colonial authorities wanted to exploit resources for their own profits. Efficient management of natural resources was presented as part of the white man’s burden. The losers were smallholder farmers and herders who lost access… Read more »