Conflicts have increased sharply since 2010. Many countries and sub-national areas now face cycles of repeated violence, weak governance and instability. However, political and social problems are not the only ones causing violent conflict. Wetland degradation can also contribute to this. Wetland degradation leads to an increased pressure on resources provided by the wetland, such as land and water [2,3,4]. If there are already tensions present, this pressure could add to a situation in which violent conflict breaks out.
The way this relationship works is different in every situation. For example, in the Inner Niger Delta, wetland degradation and an increasing population lead to less resources for more people, which fuels conflicts between different livelihood groups. Around Lake Chad, lack of opportunities in traditional livelihoods such as fishing, drives locals towards becoming members of a radicalised group called Boko Haram. On the other hand, wetlands can also help maintain peace. Along the Ewaso Nyiro in Kenya, for example, where Wetlands International has helped to initiate a dialogue between river users, which is contributing to retaining peace and stability. For more information on these examples, please see the video and and the case studies.
1. Conflict and violence in the 21st century: Current trends as observed in empirical research and statistics, Mr. Alexandre Marc, Chief Specialist, Fragility, Conflict and Violence, World Bank Group.
2. Van Baalen, S., & Mobjörk, M. (2017). Climate Change and Violent Conflict in East Africa: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Research to Probe the Mechanisms. International Studies Review. doi:10.1093/isr/vix
3. Sterzel, T., Lüdeke, M., Kok, M., & Lucas, P. L. (2014). Armed conflict distribution in global drylands through the lens of a typology of socio-ecological vulnerability. Regional Environmental Change 14(4). doi: 10.1007/s10113-013-0553-0
4. De Juan, A. (2015) Long-Term Environmental Change and Geographical Patterns of Violence in Darfur, 2003–2005. Political Geography 45, pp. 22-33.