Climate change and agro-pastoral conflicts in the Sahel

02 October 2012

Conflicts between farmers and herders in the Sahel are sometimes portrayed as a correlate of climate change, and a threat to international stability. Yet, environmental degradation is one factor among many others that can contribute to conflict in the Sahel as elsewhere. Socio-economic and political considerations are crucial. Climate predictions themselves are subject to criticism and hence provide little substance to perceived causal relations between the environment and conflicts. Agro-pastoral conflicts thus generate more questions than answers. Still, they open a wide field of analysis and action and constitute an excellent opportunity to venture into the deep and complex process of transformations undergone by Sahelian societies trying to adjust to contemporary environmental, social political and economic challenges.