Afghanistan + 5 more

Addressing the Climate-Conflict Nexus: Evidence, Insights, and Future Directions


While the relationship between climate and conflict is nuanced and context-specific, there is increasing evidence of climate change amplifying and compounding existing sources of economic, social and political risks that drive violence.
These challenges are most pronounced in fragile states already grappling with weak governance, high rates of poverty and income equality, as well as current or historical violent conflict. The intensification of climate change likely, may further escalate conflict risks, exacerbating threats to peace and stability. Furthermore, many of the people facing protracted crises are also some of those that are predicted to experience the greatest effects from climate change.

For over a decade, Mercy Corps has been working in places like Colombia, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Myanmar and Afghanistan, building resilience to climate change, conflict and other risk factors, to help communities achieve their long-term development goals. Our teams around the world from Haiti to Iraq, have seen first-hand the growth in the number and duration of conflict-driven crises in places that are also experiencing the greatest effects of climate change. In turn, we have steadily increased our focus on the nexus of climate change and conflict, conducting research and implementing programs to address this growing source of insecurity in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Written from the perspective of an agency with active programs addressing climate change, conflict and their interaction around the world, this paper aims to share our learning and make evidence-based recommendations on investments we see as necessary for driving this work forward, and how Mercy Corps is contributing to these focal areas. The following insights draw heavily from Mercy Corps’ experience and lessons learned from delivering programs in multi-risk environments. We share details on current efforts to advance the evidence base and develop new strategies to understand and address the increasing risks emerging from the intersection of climate change and conflict.