Women, Climate Change and Environmentally-Induced Conflicts in Africa


Jaggernath, Jyoti. 2014. “Women, Climate Change and Environmentally-Induced Conflicts in Africa.” Agenda: Empowering Women for Gender Equity 28 (3): 90–101. 

Author: Jyoti Jaggernath


The literature indicates that there are different types of conflicts that range from disputes / disagreements to outright violence and wars. This Article focuses on the literature regarding environmentally-induced conflicts in Africa. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) reports that Africa is the region of the world that is most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and this is likely to contribute to a range of conflicts on the continent. The significant gap in the literature on climate change and environmental conflicts induced by climate change is a gendered focus that examines the impacts and implications for women. It is widely accepted that in Africa women (and children) are the most vulnerable groups as a result of persistent poverty, poor institutional and physical infrastructure, poor social services, lower coping and adaptive capacities, and higher reliance on the natural resource base for livelihoods which are sensitive to climate variability. Furthermore, women in Africa are often the primary natural resource users and managers because of gendered productive and reproductive responsibilities which are highly dependent on natural resources. This results in the impacts of climate change being more pronounced and severe for women. Furthermore, women and men experience and respond to environmentally-induced conflicts in different ways. This Article identifies land, water, agricultural and forestry-related environmentally-induced conflicts linked to climate change and examines, using specific illustrative examples, the impacts and implications of environmentally-induced conflicts in Africa for women. Coping and adaptation strategies used by women are also discussed. The Article argues that conflicts in Africa are increasingly induced by environmental stressors and these conflicts have more severe impacts on women. It is therefore important that conflict resolution approaches and climate adaptation strategies are gender-sensitive.

Keywords: women, climate change, environment, conflict, Africa

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Environment, Climate Change, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Infrastructure, Livelihoods, Violence Regions: Africa

Year: 2014

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