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Environmental Impacts and Causes of Conflict in the Horn of Africa: A review

Solomon, Negasi, Emiru Birhane, Christopher Gordon, Mebrahtu Haile, Fatemeh Taheri, Hossein Azadi, Jürgen Scheffran. 2018. Environmental Impacts and Causes of Conflict in the Horn of Africa: A review. Earth-Science Reviews, 177: 284–290.

Abstract

The Horn of Africa region stands out amongst the planet’s territories that are most volatile and vulnerable to armed violence. Conflicts have greatly affected the region over the past 50 years. The conflicts have disrupted the lives of people as well as the environment in ways that are not fully understood. Although armed conflict has generally had a negative impact on the environment, the environmental impact of conflict within the Horn of Africa has barely been evaluated. Similarly, our understanding that climate variability as well as change could have played a role in increasing or decreasing the impacts of conflicts within the Horn of Africa is insufficient. Therefore, this paper looks at the environmental impacts of conflict in the Horn of Africa since 1970 and also the role of climate variability in increasing or decreasing the impacts of conflict. Scientific publications as well as grey literature were reviewed with the aim to understand the status of past and present conflicts in the Horn of Africa, environmental impacts of conflict and the role of climate variability in decreasing or increasing impacts
of conflict. The review demonstrates that conflict has extensive negative impacts on the environment in the Horn of Africa with main causes like grievances, government behaviour and interests, resource scarcity and transborder conflict as well as internal migration and climate variability. Similarly, climate variability plays a great role in exacerbating the impacts of conflict in the region. However, further research is needed to clearly show the impact of conflict and climate variability on the environment in the Horn of Africa.

The article is available here.

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