“While we know that natural resources alone are neither necessary nor sufficient
to drive conflict, we do know that competition over resources
and their revenues often helps to drive conflict and to sustain it over time,” said Cynthia Brady, a senior conflict advisor at USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation
. “We also know that climate change impacts are going to interact with those dynamics
, so we need to better understand how, in order to really program effectively against it in the future.”
Brady spoke to an audience of peacebuilding professionals at the 2010 Alliance for Peacebuliding Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, this fall. She noted that the issue of climate security is a relatively new one and when talking about the risks of climate-related conflict, it’s important to avoid hyperbole.
“The science of analyzing both the risks of climate impacts and the risks of conflict is pretty uncertain – they’re both still evolving,” Brady said. “There’s a very limited evidence base of real-world analysis from which we draw about this intersection.”
“I think it’s really important that we avoid over-simplification and we really focus, as peacebuilding and conflict practitioners, on the reality that conflict is such a complex phenomenon, and that opens a lot of opportunities for various points of intervention,” said Brady.