Abstract

Many experts argue that climate change will exacerbate the severity and number of extreme weather events. Such climate-related hazards will be important security concerns and sources of vulnerability in the future regardless of whether they contribute to conflict. This will be particularly true where these hazards put large numbers of people at risk of death, requiring the diversion of either domestic or foreign military assets to provide humanitarian relief. Vulnerability to extreme weather, however, is only partially a function of physical exposure. Poor, marginalized communities that lack access to infrastructure and services, that have minimal education and poor health care, and that exist in countries with poor governance are likely to be among the most vulnerable. Given its dependence on rainfed agriculture and its low adaptive capacity, Africa is thought to be among the most vulnerable continents to climate change. That vulnerability, however, is not uniformly distributed. Indicators of vulnerability within Africa include the historic incidence of climate-related hazards, population density, household and community resilience, and governance and political violence. Among the places in Africa most vulnerable to the security consequences of climate change are parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and South Sudan.

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