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Pacific communities have evolved around cooperation, resolving conflict and building peace for many centuries, including weathering the social effects of environmental change.

Nevertheless, in a region with a high reliance on the economic use of land, and land playing a central role in kinship and community identity, the environmental impacts of climate change pose significant economic and social challenges for the Pacific region.

Although it is important to avoid alarmism, there is a need to analyse and understand the conflict risks associated with climate change, and the potential for increased social tensions and violence. Such analysis can support governments, civil society, international organisations, and Pacific communities in their efforts to take a conflict sensitive approach to mitigating and managing the environmental and social changes to come.

This paper provides three initial recommendations for civil society organisations, national governments, international organisations and donors who are seeking to work with communities and governments to understand and prevent violent conflict arising from the impacts of climate change. These recommendations include:

  • Conducting community level analysis of conflict risks
  • Employing adaptive people-centred approaches
  • Support inclusive and accountable governance

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