Political Marginalization, Climate Change, and Conflict in African Sahel States

  • Citation: Clionadh Raleigh, Political Marginalization, Climate Change, and Conflict in African Sahel States, International Studies Review, Volume 12, Issue 1, March 2010, Pages 69–86.
    • Topics:
    • Global Development
    • Keywords:
    • African Sahel States
    • conflict
    • climate change
    • vulnerability

This article discusses the probability of increased communal conflict in African states due to the “political vulnerability” of groups to climate change. From an initial examination of communal conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa, the risk of conflict depends largely on the size and political importance of ethnic groups. Environmental issues can be catalysts to low-level conflict in marginalized communities, but the critical factor is the extent of political and economic marginalization. Small, politically insignificant ethnic groups experience most conflicts related to environmental pressures. This framework informs a prediction of where we should expect to see high levels of politically induced vulnerability and resultant intra- and intercommunal conflicts.

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