Across the African continent, the impacts of climate change and the related security and development risks have become more pronounced. In the Lake Chad Basin, climate change has intensified competition over scarce natural resources--undermining the livelihoods of five million people, increasing internal displacement and exacerbating the risk of violence and recruitment by terrorist organizations, namely Boko Haram. Concurrently, the Horn of Africa is grappling with overlapping crises, including COVID-19 and a locust infestation, which are aggravating food insecurity risks, the loss of livelihoods, and the resort to transnational organized crimes; all of which are challenging the ability of governments to respond effectively. These climate-security risks are further compounded by Africa‟s relatively low national preparedness and community resilience, as well as the considerable financing gap it faces in addressing these issues and achieving sustainable development pathways.
In response to the growing recognition of these devastating impacts, African governments and regional organizations have taken positive steps towards addressing the development and security implications of climate threats. For instance, the AU has established a „climate cluster‟, bringing relevant departments under a common umbrella to better assess and address climate-security risks across the continent. However, the scale of action falls dramatically short of the increasing need. This accentuates the urgency for accelerating efforts towards climate adaptation and integrating climate-related security and development risks into national planning, peacebuilding and climate-targeted programs. Accordingly, this session will highlight the systemic and interactive nature of climate threats and take stock of preventive, inclusive and integrated climate policies and responses in Africa, and the role of international support. It will discuss the opportunities and challenges of integrating and addressing climate-related security risks in development planning, conflict prevention and peacebuilding at multiple levels.