The effects of climate change can be a trigger for conflict and a barrier to building peace. They exacerbate political, social, economic and environmental factors that can lead to violence, impacting on the distribution of resources, putting pressure on governance systems, and intensifying imbalances in power, particularly related to gender or age. The relationship between climate change and conflict is complex and more research is required to fully understand it. But many communities are experiencing violence linked to climate change now – and also finding creative ways to respond.
Peacebuilders and environmentalists need to work together with communities to manage the conflict risks from the environmental impacts of climate change, to ensure that responses to climate change and conflict are complementary, and to help mediate and manage the power shifts needed for both human and ecological security. Peacebuilding provides opportunities to work across conflict divides, particularly intergenerationally and with people of different gender identities. It brings to light rich variations in knowledge and experience, relationships and attitudes towards nature and ecological systems.
Conciliation Resources accompanies people around the world working to understand, address and transform conflicts. We connect people with divergent interests to reframe their perspectives and positions on the issues that divide them. This creates opportunities for peaceful change in situations of seemingly intractable violence. We see people adopting creative and collaborative solutions to shared ecological and climate challenges in contexts as diverse as the Pacific Islands, the Sahel and Kashmir, and we have much to learn from them.
This is hopeful work and is an essential, people-centred approach to our shared security in the climate crisis.
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Access to land and natural resources has long contributed to conflict, but our natural environment is changing at a rate never seen before in human history. We work in partnership with local people and communities to develop conflict-sensitive responses to environmental change.