From 28 to 29 September 2022, the regional working group on climate change and security in West Africa held its third meeting in Dakar. The aim of this meeting was to bring together representatives from no less than twelve West African countries to benefit from their expertise on issues related to climate change and security in the region. The results of this meeting will be published in a scientific report. The project is a collaboration between The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Peace and Security Competence Centre Sub-Saharan Africa, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.
Climate change has an impact on several security issues that already exist in West Africa. At the two previous meetings, the working group had already identified key issues and given concrete actions to address security risks related to climate change and to develop more climate-sensitive conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
These exchanges for a better understanding of the complexity of the situation continued to give concrete recommendations for addressing climate change security issues. The participants agreed on the following points, among others:
- First, to avoid conflicts over natural resources, local populations, civil society organizations and state institutions need to be involved in the decision-making process regarding local management and use of natural resources as well as mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
- Secondly, there is a need to invest in climate change know-how and training to strengthen governance capacity, particularly in the accessibility of agro-climatic information, national conflict observatories and regional agricultural structures.
- Finally, participants were particularly concerned about the involvement of local actors and their knowledge. Indigenous know-how can be crucial in the fight for climate change mitigation and adaptation and serve as a basis for science.
In addition, the "Environment of Peace" report was launched on the second day of the conference. This report gives an overview of the interactions between the different aspects of the environmental crisis, such as climate change, resource scarcity and depletion and the deteriorating security situation. On this basis, the participants continued the exchange in the afternoon for more concrete reflections on the subject.