Briefing on the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus, and the Report of the Chairperson of AUC on the Study on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa

Briefing on the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus, and the Report of the Chairperson of AUC on the Study on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa

6 November 2023

Tomorrow (7 November), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1184th session at the ambassadorial level. The session involves a briefing on the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus, and the Report of the Chairperson of AUC on the Study on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to start with open segment and proceed to closed segment. Following the opening statement by Abdi Mahamoud Eybe, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti who is also the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of November, it is expected that the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, will deliver his remarks. It is also expected that statements will be delivered by Josefe Leonel Correla Sacko , the AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE)and a representative of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change. An expert from the Office of the Chairperson will then present the Report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the Study of the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa.

The nexus between climate change, peace and security gained the attention of the PSC since its 585th session on 30 March 2016. Introduced into the agenda of the PSC for the first time at that session under the theme, “Climate Change: State fragility, peace and security,” the issue of climate, peace and security has since received increasing attention in the work of the PSC. In the various communiqués and statements of the PSC adopted on this theme, it has identified climate change as ‘threat multiplier’ to the peace and security situation in the continent and/or potential exacerbator of ‘existing vulnerabilities, tensions and conflicts.’ In order to further deepen its consideration of the subject, the PSC requested the development of the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus and the Report of the Chairperson of AUC on the Study on the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa.

It was at its 774th session held on 21 May 2018 that the PSC requested the study on the nexus between climate change, peace and security in Africa. Additionally,  during its 984th session of 9 March, 2021, which was held at the Heads of State and Government level, the PSC expressed its anticipation of the study. Subsequently, the PSC requested the expedited completion of the study during its 1079th session on 21 April, 2022. This urgency was reiterated during the PSC’s 1114th session on 18 October, 2022. It is also recalled that the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government requested the expedited finalization of the climate-related security risk assessment study during its 35th ordinary session on 6 February, 2022. All of these are indicative that the study on the nexus between climate change and peace and security is long overdue.

While the initial request on the study was pending, it was during the 1051st session of the PSC, held on 26 November 2021, that the African Continental Climate Security Risk Assessment Report featured in the deliberations of the PSC. Recognizing the urgent need to understand the diverse security implications of climate change across the continent, the PSC requested the AUC to expediate the finalization of the report, consulting with Member States in the process. The PSC, as per the session’s Communique, views the report as a stepping stone towards consolidating a common African position on climate change and security. The risk assessment report is based on the consultative workshop on Climate Security Risk Assessment methodology that was held in March 2023. The findings of this assessment report are expected to be included in the AUC Chairperson’s report on the Study of the Nexus between Climate Change, Peace and Security in Africa.

Informed by the risk assessment report, the Chairperson’s report is expected to highlight and expand upon the various concerns previously brought up in the PSC sessions regarding the nexus of climate change, peace and security. These concerns are primarily rooted in the reality that Africa is the region most susceptible to climate change. One issue of particular concern is the impact of climate change in the reduction of available water, pasture and cultivatable land. This heightened scarcity of these natural resources on which large number of people depend for their livelihoods and survival  has led to intensified competition for pastoral land between herders and  farmers as well artisanal fishers in the Sahel and Western Africa, an increase in cattle rustling in Easter Africa and conflict over scarce water resource in Central Africa regions.

Additionally, as climate change alters weather patterns, traditional rainfed agricultural practices are becoming less viable, especially in regions such as the Sahel, Western and Eastern Arica where populations heavily depend on agriculture-based livelihoods. In addition to changing weather patterns, these outcomes are compounded by complex socio-economic, political and governance issues that affect the production and price of food, aggravating the threat of climate change to human security. It has also been observed that in some countries the soaring food price is a catalyst for protests and riots, as it inflates existing grievances.

The Chairperson’s report may also highlight how scarcity of resources and climate change-induced catastrophes inadvertently benefit terrorist and armed groups. Such groups seize upon the desperation and instability caused by environmental crises and the inequitable nature or insufficiency of governments’ response to those disasters to strengthen their numbers. A prime example is Boko Haram in Western Africa. For people whose lives and livelihoods were threatened by the impacts of climate change, they position themselves as a beacon of providers of alternative source of support, livelihood security, promising safety, stability, and access to vital resources for vulnerable communities.

Migration and displacement due to climate change disasters is another concern expected to be reflected in the Chairperson’s report. As droughts, erratic rainfall, and rising sea levels continue to impact communities, more people are forced to leave their homes in search of safer environments. In East Africa, the United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) for Refugees released a report in November 2023 indicating that 2.3 million people had been internally displaced in Ethiopia and Somalia. The UNHCR has also reported  that as of 31 March 2023 there were almost 11.71 million internally displaced persons in East Africa and the Great Lakes Region. While the data is clear that conflicts account for the substantial majority of cases of forced displacement, the contribution of climate change to displacement has over the years been on the rise. With respect to migration, a recent survey of 6,000 people in West and Central Africa found that 49% of the respondents cited environmental issues as a factor in their decision to migrate. For receiving countries and communities, migration and displacement frequently results in competition for resources, strained infrastructure, and social unrest, at times escalating into violence within the communities hosting migrants.

On the contrary, the displacement of communities and the disruption of agriculture and food production in conflict-affected areas can lead to deforestation and land degradation as people rely on natural resources for survival. Hence, the Chairperson’s report is expected to highlight the flip side of the climate-security nexus. The instability caused by ongoing conflicts can hinder efforts to implement sustainable environmental policies and implement mitigation and adaptation measures to the challenges of climate change. This has been observed in incidents, such as the recent collapse of dam in Libya and the ongoing cases of human suffering in South Sudan. Additionally, the exploitation of natural resources, such as oil and minerals, to finance armed conflicts can further exacerbate environmental degradation. This is particularly evident in Central Africa, Sahel and North Africa, as seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the exploitative extraction of the vast resources of the country are fuelling conflicts.

The report may also focus on island nations, as it was requested by the PSC to ‘pay particular attention on the plight of island Member States’ in undertaking the study. These countries, which are often already at a disadvantage due to their small size and remoteness from the global interconnected economic system, face urgent and existential challenges posed by climate change. These challenges include rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and ocean acidification. The environmental changes not only lead to displacement and resource competition but also contribute to maritime insecurity and the depletion of marine resources, threatening human security in these countries.

Additionally, another element expected to be emphasised in the report is the disproportionate impact of climate change and conflict on vulnerable members of society including the poor, children, women and persons with disabilities particularly from marginalized sectors of the population.

The Chairperson’s report is also expected to highlight the climate financing gap for African States. Despite their acute climate-related risks, most African nations struggle to access the necessary funds to implement mitigation and adaptation measures. While African states access to climate funds remains poor, those fragile and conflict affected countries face further access challenges. According to a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report, extremely fragile states received an average of $2.1 per person per year in adaptation financing between the years 2010-2017, compared to $161.7 per person for non-fragile states.

Tomorrow’s session may also emphasize the imperative for narrowing down the enormous financing gap for climate action in Africa, as rightly noted by the African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina, a lack of adequate financing for tackling climate change in Africa has become dire and is ‘chocking’ the continent. Apart from exploring new sources of funding, there are two aspects of the financing issue that deserve attention. The first is for the commitments relating to financing adaptation measures in developing countries to be honoured.  The second critical aspect of this requires the easing of the conditions and processes for accessing climate funds.

Moreover, the report is expected to present the relationship between conflict and climate change in Africa as a complex and interlinked issue, with far-reaching consequences for both human security and the environment. Putting this into perspective, the report may highlight on best practices in terms of innovative mechanisms to address climate-related security risks, early warning systems and cross-sectoral cooperation at national and regional levels. It is also expected that the report will provide recommendations pertaining to financing, governance, coordination and partnership.

Building on its decision from its 1114th session and the initiative of the COP27 presidency on having the peace and security dimension into the agenda of the COP processes, the PSC may call for climate and security as one of the thematic areas in COP policy processes and request the AU and its member states to ensure that the security dimension is also fully integrated across the mitigation, adaptation, financing, loss and damage and transition streams of the COP.

The outcome of the session is expected to be a communique. The PSC is expected to commend the chairperson for the Study on the nexus between climate change and peace and security in Africa. The PSC may request that climate sensitive analysis is used for all AU peace and security initiatives across the African Peace and Security Architecture to ensure that such initiatives are tailored to address the implications of climate change. Council may also request the AU Commission to develop a Common African Position (CAP) on the nexus between climate change, peace and security based on the study of the Chairperson for the forthcoming COP 28 in United Arab Emirate (UAE), planned for November 2023. In light of this, The PSC may emphasize the importance of Member States presenting a unified position at global forums, guided by the Committee of African Heads of States and Governments on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN). In this regard, the PSC may also express its support to the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) in advancing Africa’s priorities in climate change negotiations and promoting comprehensive and effective responses to climate change impacts at the national, regional, and continental levels. Additionally, the PSC may underscore the importance of accelerating the implementation of the AU Climate Change and Resilience Development Strategy and Action Plan. The PSC may further underscore the importance for the AU to support the efforts of Member States to enhance their national intervention for climate change resilience, mitigation and adaptation including through building early warning, preparedness and response capacities. The PSC may also draw attention to mobilizing targeted intervention for building resilience for the most vulnerable regions of the continent such as Sahel and Horn of Africa in key social and economic sectors such as agriculture and rural economy.


Update on the impact of climate change on peace and security

Update on the impact of climate change on peace and security

30 August 2023

Tomorrow (31 August), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1172nd session to receive updates on the impact of climate change on peace and security.

Following opening remarks by Willy Nyamitwe, Permanent Representative of Burundi and the Chairperson of the PSC for August, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement. AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Josepha Sacko, may also deliver a statement. A representative of the UN may also make a statement.

Since the PSC’s 585th session of March 2016, which decided to hold annual sessions on climate change, the PSC held nearly a dozen sessions to discuss issues of concern related to climate change. PSC last met on the theme during its 1114th session last October at Ministerial level, which specifically addressed the issue of ‘building resilience and adaptation for food security in African Island States towards COP27’. In the light of the wide range of decisions that the PSC adopted on this theme, an important aspect of tomorrow’s session could be a review of the decisions and their implementation as well as the identification of action plan for the follow up of those decisions that are awaiting implementation.

Tomorrow’s session is taking place ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit, which will be held from 4-6 September 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme ‘Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for African and the World’. Accordingly, of immediate interest for this session is to explore how best to advance the climate and security agenda as part of the Africa Climate Summit. Depending on how this session informs the African Climate Summit, it can also position the AU and its participation in the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), set to take place between November and December 2023.

As part of this session, it is worth recalling the growing impact of climate change particularly in the developing world including Africa, considering that 17 out of 20 countries most affected by climate change are in Africa despite the fact that Africa contributes the least to global greenhouse gas emissions. The adverse impacts of climate change in Africa are reflected in how climate induced extreme whether events affect not only the lives and livelihoods of increasingly large number of people on the continent and curtail progress in achieving development goals but also the governance, security and stability dynamics of affected populations and societies.

The PSC in tomorrow’s session is expected to build on its earlier decisions. In a major development that aims to bring the security dimension of climate change to the center of policy processes on climate, its 1114th session called for the inclusion of discussions on climate and security in the agenda of the meetings of the AU Assembly Committee of African Heads of States and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) – a committee that provides political leadership and strategic guidance on the continent’s engagement on climate change. During the COP27 hosted in Egypt in November 2022, for the first time the issue of the climate security nexus featured during COP.  Apart from various side events and high-level events in which the climate-security nexus took centre stage, the COP27 Presidency presented the Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace (CRSP).

Building on its decision from its 1114th session and the initiative of the COP27 presidency, the PSC may not only call on the Africa Climate Summit to declare the designation of climate and security as one of the thematic areas in COP policy processes and ensure that the security implications of climate are duly accounted for so that the security dimension is also fully factored in policy initiatives across the mitigation, adaptation, financing, loss and damage and transition streams of the COP processes.

Understandably, how the security implications of climate change can be addressed as part of the COP processes is something that may be decided as part of the COP negotiation by the states parties. However, the PSC may request that the outcome document of the Africa Climate Summit includes a dedicated segment to the security implications of climate change. As proposed by Amani Africa in its statement on ‘the climate and security nexus in preparation of COP27’, this may involve the establishment of a thematic focus and a dedicated expert group on climate and security on the COP negotiations, which would enable a continuous and robust policy engagement and consultation on climate and security that will make COP processes agile and effectively responsive to various dimensions of the climate crisis.

The other decision that the PSC could build on is from its summit level 984th session, which decided on the establishment of African Union Fund on climate change. Tomorrow’s session may discuss how to concretize the establishment of this fund particularly having regard to the existence of the Africa Climate Change Fund under the Africa Development Bank (AfDB). Considering that an important aspect of the focus of the African Climate Summit is climate finance solutions, tomorrow’s session may also emphasize the imperative for narrowing down the enormous financing gap for climate action in Africa. As rightly noted by the African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina, a lack of adequate financing for tackling climate change in Africa has become dire and is ‘chocking’ the continent. Apart from exploring new sources of funding, there are two aspects that deserve attention in this respect. The first is for the commitments relating to financing adaptation measures in developing countries to be honoured.  The second critical aspect of this requires the easing of the conditions and processes for accessing climate funds. Available statistics show that African countries particularly those most affected by climate, and fragility and conflict receive the least funding on account of the prohibitive nature of the conditions of access for these countries.

The other aspect of the session may focus on how to take the agenda of climate change and security forward both at a global and continental level while strengthening its own structures to effectively respond to the scourge. Apart from integrating climate in the various engagements that the PSC has with the UN Security Council and the European Political and Security Committee building on the last thematic focus of the consultative meeting of the PSC with the UN Peacebuilding Commission, attention may be drawn to mobilizing support for building resilience for the most vulnerable regions of the continent in key social and economic sectors such as agriculture and rural economy.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communiqué. PSC is expected to express concern over the rising climate-linked disasters and their implication over the peace, security, stability, and development of the continent. In that regard, it may reiterate its call for the Commission to continue and enhance the identification and mobilization of support to Member States in building national resilience and address the adverse impacts of climate change. PSC may welcome the convening of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in September in line with decision of the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly and may urge participants to pay attention to the security implications of climate change in Africa. In relation to the various initiatives and decisions adopted in previous sessions and cognizant of the need for a systematic follow-up to their implementation, PSC may request the Commission to submit a comprehensive report in the next PSC session on the theme, highlighting the status of the implementation of each decision, and action plan on follow up of those decisions pending implementation. As COP28 negotiations will kick off in few months, PSC may urge relevant AU stakeholders, notably the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) to make thorough preparation to ensure that the continent’s interests and priorities are taken onboard in the negotiation process and in this respect to add to the negotiation process the proposed establishment of a dedicated thematic focus on the peace and security implications of climate to help inform how best this agenda can be taken forward in COP processes.


Amani Africa statement on the climate and security nexus in preparation of COP27

Amani Africa statement on the climate and security nexus in preparation of COP27

1 November 2022

One of the issues that receives inadequate attention in COP negotiations is the climate-security nexus. While the causal links between climate and conflict remains a subject of increasing interest and debate, there is mounting consensus and evidence that the climate crisis carries adverse consequences for political stability and peace and security. Indications are that there is perhaps no other part of the world that stands to suffer from the security consequences of climate change more than Africa. The latest UN report released early this year, which gave the starkest warning yet that any further delay in effective climate action will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future, confirmed once again that the climate crisis will have particularly dire consequences in Africa. In an intervention that attests to this, last year, the Foreign Minister of Niger told the UN Security Council in September 2021 that ‘climate change has intensified competition for land, fodder and water resources. That has led to the resurgence of community-level conflicts between herders and farmers, thereby hampering peacebuilding and development efforts in the (Sahel) region.’

Amani Africa in its research identified that there are at least four aspects to this peace and security dimensions of the climate crisis in Africa. The first is where climate induced scarcity of natural resources on which vast majority of people on the continent depend for their livelihood and survival leads to violent competition over control and access to such ever depleting resources in the face of climate change. A case in point in Africa is the growing inter-communal violence that has become more ferocious and deadly over the years in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. In the Lake Chad basin region, shrinking water resources and the impact of the decline in the lake’s ecosystem on the livelihood of people in the basin have sparked resource-based conflicts.

Second, climate change induced extreme whether events also operate as multipliers of conflict factors, through their interaction with existing national and local political, social and environmental stresses. An example is Somalia. Here, more frequent and intense droughts and floods are undermining food security, increasing competition over scarce resources and exacerbating existing community tensions, from which Al-Shabaab continues to take advantage of.

Third, climate related disaster interferes with and undermines peace processes and transitions. A case in point is South Sudan, where the devastating flooding it experienced in 2021 has added a layer to various political and security factors that are delaying the implementation of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

Fourth, climate change in causing disasters and humanitarian emergencies leads to not only displacements that could undermine social cohesion but also impedes development efforts and resilience of societies for averting and managing political tensions and conflicts. It has thus become abundantly clear that climate change is a fast growing security challenge hat requires urgent and sustained policy attention.

Against the background of the foregoing, Amani Africa proposes that the AU adopts the following measures to address the security dimension of the climate crisis in Africa:

  • Establishment of a thematic focus and a dedicated expert group on climate and security in the COP negotiations: Security has not featured in COP negotiations and while the upcoming COP27 presents an opportunity to take the first step, the effort has to be strengthened through deliberate policy intervention that lay the foundation for the formulation and refinement of a Common Position on climate and security and to also amplify a continental voice globally. The systematic incorporation of security issues in the COP processes in a form of a standing expert group would enable a continuous and robust policy engagement and consultation on climate and security that can that will make COP processes agile and responsive to the various major policy issues of the climate crisis. The institutionalization of this theme would be beneficial to make the global climate negotiations grounded and fully cognizant of the various consequences of climate change, particularly for countries most at risk of severe consequences of climate change and its interaction with existing conditions of fragilities, thereby threatening international peace and security.
  • Fast tracking climate finance in fragile settings: it is high time that the continent approaches the global pledges made by developed nations to finance adaptation efforts in a strategic and pragmatic manner. Developed nations are far from meeting their commitment of providing 100 billion for developing nations adaptation cost. A very small amount is trickled down to affected countries and communities. The climate finance gap in Africa is staggering. Over a period of three years African countries collectively received only 18 billion USD in climate finance. On the other hand, the climate finance gap amounts to 1288 billion annually from 2020-2030. According to the UNDP report on Climate Finance for Sustaining Peace, this situation is even more complex for countries in fragile contexts where they encounter more challenges in accessing climate finance compared to non-fragile contexts. Recent reports also demonstrate the severity of financing gap noting that countries in fragile settings only receive 1/80th of per capita climate financing in comparison to non-fragile contexts. This also relates to the structural challenges of the global financial system. Grants that come as a form of a loan have intensified debt burden for developing nations. While it is important for the continent to operate within the broader bloc of the global south in negotiations, efforts should also be geared towards addressing specific needs and challenges of the continent by particularly paying attention to countries in fragile contexts and finding ways of making the financing framework responsive to these urgent needs in a way that also helps meet the climate commitments given that conflicts exacerbated by climate change further aggravate climate change both by increasing greenhouse gas emissions and hampering climate sensitive interventions.
  • Africa centered research data collection on climate and security: currently the nexus between climate and security is more anecdotal. A more robust documentation on the how climate factors interact with socio-economic and political factors and their effects on peace security is critical in designing policies. At the moment there is an imbalance in which knowledge is being produced in the overall climate related issue. A lot of data is being produced from outside the continent including on matters concerning Africa. It is important for policies to be informed by knowledge produced within the continent and for Africa’s ownership of its own data, analysis and policy response. Africa has experienced severe climate data limitation and inequities in research funding. As noted in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of 2021, from 1990 to 2019 research on Africa received only 3.8% of climate-related research funding globally, and 78% of this funding for Africa went to European Union- and North America–based institutions and only 14.5% to African institutions. This will have a direct impact on the way in which conflict sensitive climate adaptation policies are designed and implemented in Africa. It is critical for Africa not only to produce the necessary data but to also formulate its policies in line with homegrown and context specific data and analysis to effectively respond to the compounded effects of insecurity and climate change.
  • Making the African Peace and Security Architecture responsive and fully adapted to climate change risks of conflicts – there is also the need to revisit our continental peace and security architecture and our intervention instruments within the context of the risks and threats associated to climate change. There is a need to review and adapt existing peace and security tools and architecture so that they can take in consideration and respond to emerging security situations more effectively. Retooling the African Peace and Security Architecture would require adopting a broader approach to security, one that is anchored in human security. This can be done by streamlining and integrating climate risks in all AU peace and security intervention through various mechanisms including the deployment of climate experts in peace support operations, integrating climate change analysis in AU country/region reports presented to the Council and for the PSC to allocate adequate time to consider the nexus between climate and security in the continent’s conflict hotspots, conducting field visits to natural disaster affected countries and integrate climate risk analysis in conflict early warning.


Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus: Building Resilience and Adaptation for Food Security in African Island States Towards COP27

Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus: Building Resilience and Adaptation for Food Security in African Island States Towards COP27

Date | 18 October 2022

Tomorrow (18 October) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council is scheduled to hold its 1114th session at the ministerial level under the theme ‘Climate Change, Peace and Security Nexus: Building Resilience and Adaptation for Food Security in African Island States Towards COP27’.

Following the opening remark by the minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates of the Kingdom of Morocco and Chairperson of the PSC for October Nasser Bourita, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement. Josefa Sacko, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) of the AU Commission is scheduled to make a presentation on the theme of the session. Omar Gad, Permanent Representative of Egypt and incoming chair of COP27 is also expected to deliver a statement. The representatives of the World Food Program (WFP), Climate Change Competence Center and Adaptation of African Agriculture are also expected to brief the PSC. Seychelles as Chair of the African Islands Climate Commission is scheduled to make a statement.

Climate change and security is one of PSC’s standing thematic agenda items that is increasingly receiving attention from highest level of decision makers. Since 2016, PSC has addressed the nexus between climate change and security in Africa from various perspectives through the different sessions dedicated to the theme. In 2021 alone three sessions were held on the theme including two at heads of state and government level. More specifically the unique vulnerability experienced by small island states has been the focus of the PSC’s 877th session. The meeting underscored the severity of climate change on island states and expressed its concern by noting how the effects of climate change are ‘threatening their survival and impacting on biodiversity, food security and the livelihoods of communities’ and further called for urgent action for the protection of livelihoods and biodiversity.

African island states and in most cases small island states are inherently vulnerable due to their size and remoteness from global interconnected economic system. These states are also highly vulnerable given their exposure to environmental challenges and limited resource base. Despite their negligible contribution to greenhouse gas emissions they have been disproportionately affected by the devastating effects of climate change. Availability of food and water resources remain critical challenges to these states. Food insecurity is a result of multiple factors. In the majority of these states the agricultural sector is characterized by subsistence production. Smallholder farmers constitute the majority producers in the sector. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report more than 80% of farmers hold less than 2 ha in Guinea-Bissau and 90% hold less than 1 ha in Cabo Verde. The sector also highly depends on rainfall and any decrease in precipitation due to climate change exposes communities to drought and the reduction of agricultural production. The use of fertilizers is also low in many of these states. In addition to the agriculture sector island states are also highly dependent on their oceanic and fishery resources for food security and livelihoods and for economic development.

Food insecurity has deteriorated at an alarming rate across Africa threatening human security.  The AU, FAO and the UN Economic Commission for Africa have reported that the hunger situation on the continent witnessed the most deterioration during 2019 and 2020. According to the three entities, 281.6 million Africans are undernourished in 2020. More reports are indicating that these trends will likely worsen in subsequent years (read more in Amani Africa’s ‘Insights’ on Food Security and Conflict in Africa).

In addition to the structural and economic difficulties of island states which make them susceptible to effects of climate change, their condition is further exacerbated by extreme weather events such as cyclones and slow onset processes like sea level rise. This vulnerability is expected to worsen in the coming decades. As per United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization’s report in 2022, Africa’s island states and coastal states will carry a heavy brunt of rising sea level and it will cost them an estimated $50 billion in damages by 2050. Moreover, extreme weather events and island states remain highly susceptible to external shocks. The combined effects of climate change, COVID19 and the global crisis that followed the war in Ukraine had severe effects that further exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities. These multiple crises have had direct impact on the economies of these countries including due to the adverse effects on the tourism sector, agricultural sector, infrastructure and energy.

The cost of adaptation remains high and these states face difficulties in accessing climate financing. According to United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) data the annual adaptation cost for developing nations is estimated at USD 70 billion. The numbers are expected to rise to up to USD 140-300 billion in 2030 and USD 280-500 billion in 2050. Developed nations are far from meeting their commitments of USD100 billion per year, to finance climate change actions at national, regional and international levels.

Building resilience is fundamental for communities and countries to respond to shocks without leading to crisis or conflict. However, security and environmental crises continue to erode the resilience of communities. Drought, water shortage, food insecurity, and desertification that are caused or aggravated by climate change, are risk multipliers for conflict. Moreover, other external and global factors also contribute to this fragility. Hence, tomorrow’s session may reflect on policy responses that support island states in scaling up their efforts towards a more resilient and climate-smart agriculture that can respond to internal and external difficulties.

An important aspect to consider during tomorrow’s session is the relationship between climate change and security and how these interplay in the context of island states. Although there is an increasing recognition of the nexus between climate and security, it is an area that is yet to be properly studied and analyzed. The relationship is complex and as also highlighted in the concept note there is no direct causal link between climate change and security. Nonetheless, the compounded effects of declining security and environment are being witnessed in various parts of the continent. In recognition of the link between the two components, the 6th IPCC Report on Climate Change stressed the importance of building synergies between climate adaptation and peacebuilding to address climate-related fragility and conflict risks more comprehensively. Indeed, some of the island states in Africa in addition to climate change related challenges, are also experiencing insecurities and fragile political processes, as has been the case in Comoros. Climate change has the effect of accentuating these existing vulnerabilities and insecurities.

As highlighted in the concept note, one of the key developments that is expected to take place in tomorrow’s session is the presentation by the AUC of the ‘key messages’ on the nexus between climate change, peace and security within the context of the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture to facilitate the development of a Common African Position on climate change, peace and security nexus. This builds from previous PSC decisions and it is also a critical exercise to integrate peace and security matters within COP27 which have been absent in previous COPs.

From the perspective of the upcoming COP27 presidency, the representative from Egypt is expected to highlight the COP priorities and the various initiatives. The representative may also highlight the centrality of adaptation, losses and damages as priorities in the COP and for the continent. These priorities are particularly critical for island states. The absence of a loss and damage fund and the sensitivity around the issue, which was also witnessed in COP26 negotiations, continues to affect developing nations ability to access financing for recovery, reconstruction and to assist communities whose home and livelihood have been destroyed. The representative may also use the opportunity to remind participants and highlight the importance for Africa to clearly articulate its position and interest and ensure that African states advance a collective goal in addressing a global challenge that is disproportionately affecting the continent.

The expected outcome is a communique. Council may underscore the unique vulnerabilities of African island states to climate change and the consequences related to food insecurity. The Council may express its concern over the devastating effects of climate change induced natural disasters and the consequent loss and damage. The PSC may welcome the key messages presented by the AUC as an important step in forming a common position and informing the COP27 deliberations on climate and security matters. The PSC may commend Egypt for the work it has undertaken in preparation of COP27. The Council may call for the harmonization of policies and action at all levels between the AU, member states and Regional Economic Communities in early warning and early action. The PSC may also call for the need for investing in preparedness and capacity for effective response.  Additionally, the PSC may call for a strengthened cooperation between the Africa Multi-hazard Early Warning System and Early Action (AMHEWAS) Situation Room and the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) Situation Room. The Council may reiterate its previous call for countries most responsible for climate change to honor their pledge and deliver on the USD100 billion for annual climate financing to developing nations. It may also highlight the imperative for countries with the most responsibility for greenhouse emissions to take the urgent measures for meeting the target set for limiting emissions. With respect to island states and countries whose economies are battered by the impacts of climate change, it may welcome the plan for including loss and damage in to the COP27 agenda and call for the establishment of a dedicated mechanism for supporting loss and damage.


Debate on climate change, peace and security in Africa

Climate Change and Natural Disaster

Date | 21 April 2022

Tomorrow (21 April), African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1079th session to deliberate on climate change, peace and security in Africa.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to proceed in open and closed segments. In the open segment of the session, following an opening remark by Willy Nyamitwe, Permanent Representative of Burundi and the Chairperson of the PSC for April, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make statement.  AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Josepha Sacko, is envisaged to deliver presentation. Egypt, in its capacity as the host of the 27th session of Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), and the United Nations are also expected to make statements.

Climate change and security is one of PSC’s standing thematic agenda items that has been regularly discussed particularly since its decision, during 585th session in March 2016, to dedicate an annual open session on the theme. Since then, the Council dedicated around 10 sessions including the last one at its 1051st meeting convened on 26 November 2021. Tomorrow’s session is therefore in line with Council’s decision to hold an annual session on climate change and security.

In 2021, PSC convened three sessions on climate change and natural disaster, two of them held at summit level. The PSC has adopted several communiques that clearly acknowledged the climate-security nexus and highlight the different pathways in which climate change, peace and security interact. For instance, at its 774th session that took place on 21 may 2018, Council underscored the linkage between climate change and peace and security in Africa. Furthermore, a communique adopted at the 1051st session also recognized the risks of climate change, as ‘threat multiplier’, to the African peace and security landscape as it is leading to greater food and water insecurity, loss of livelihoods, depletion of natural resources, and more climate-linked human displacements.

Although it is hardly possible to establish a direct causal link between climate change and violent conflicts, the potential impact of climate change in aggravating existing vulnerabilities, tensions and conflicts, thereby triggering inter-communal violence has been highlighted by the PSC. It is also in this context that climate change is described as ‘threat multiplier’. The Concept Note prepared for the session further notes the possible impact of climate change in increasing the frequency and intensity of conflict and human security issues in the continent, leading to ‘protracted and multifaceted humanitarian and security crisis’. The fact that seven of the ten countries that are most vulnerable to climate change are in Africa tells the relevance of the theme to the continent.

Tomorrow’s session may also reflect on how rapid urbanization dynamics and demographic change that the continent is witnessing are adding additional layer to the impact of climate change on Africa’s peace and security landscape. Despite a general understanding and consensus within the Council on the security implication of climate change in Africa, the issue of how exactly climate change intersect with peace and security, the causal link between climate change and security, and how climate-related security risks could be integrated within the existing African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) need to be further explored.

In terms of AU’s intervention to respond to climate change, it is to be recalled that Council, at its 585th session held in March 2016, stressed the imperative of mainstreaming climate change in all AU activities, particularly in early warning and conflict prevention efforts. The recent launch of the Africa Multi-hazard Early Warning and Early Action System (AMHEWAS) in the AU Commission is a step forward in improving continental early warning capacity on disaster risks for early action. The development of AU Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan to guide, coordinate and support the continent’s response to climate change for the period 2022-2032 is another positive step taken by the Union. Sacko’s presentation may also touch on AU’s efforts to support the work and operationalization of the three Climate Commissions which were set up in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, namely the African Islands Climate Commission, Congo Basin Climate Commission, and Sahel Climate Commission. The issue of building synergy and maintaining closer coordination and cooperation between the AU Commission and the three climate Commissions remain extremely important.

As the next round of climate talks, COP27, is around the corner which is slated to take place in November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this session could also serve as a platform to converse on areas of priorities that should be put forward by the continent and how to factor in the climate-security nexus in the discussions. In the recent meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) held on 6 February, the current coordinator of the Committee, Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, outlined ‘Climate Finance’, ‘loss and damage’, ‘Global Goal on Adaptation’, ‘Keeping 1.5 degrees C alive’, and ‘recognition of the Special needs and circumstances for Africa’ as Africa’s priorities in the upcoming COP27 and highlighted the need to focus on mobilizing support towards these priority areas. The Assembly during its 35th Ordinary session held in February this year also highlighted different priorities that are expected to shape Africa’s negotiating points at COP27.

Tomorrow’s session also presents members of the Council the opportunity to follow up on the implementation of the different initiatives and decisions agreed in previous sessions with the aim to take the agenda forward. The first of such decision which becomes particularly important in light of the upcoming COP27 is the need for developing a Common African Position on Climate Change. This was decided by the Council at its 984th session held at a summit level. The 1051st session reiterated its call for the development of the Common Position on climate change, and in particular on climate finance and operationalization of the Global Goal on Adaptation.

The second decision worth following up is the finalization of a study on climate-security nexus. As highlighted before, it was at its 774th session that Council mandated the Commission to undertake the study. In its last session on the theme, it is to be recalled that Council requested the Commission to ‘expedite the finalization of a climate-related security risk assessment study… to define the varying security impacts of climate change on the African continent…’

The third is on the appointment of an AU Special Envoy for Climate Change and Security pursuant to Council’s decision at its 774th session. During the 984th session, Council asked the Chairperson of the Commission for a feedback on the status of progress regarding the appointment of the Special Envoy who will work closely with CAHOSCC. Moreover, the PSC may follow up on the establishment of AU Special Fund for Climate Change which the Council agreed to establish at its 984th session convened under the chairship of Kenya.

Africa’s leadership on climate change and security has also been visible in the UNSC. It is to be recalled that Niger during its presidency of the UNSC in December 2021, tabled the first draft resolution on climate change and security jointly with Ireland. The draft resolution was not adopted after Russia vetoed it. However, it is to be recalled that the UN Security Council recognized the link between climate change and violence in its region specific agenda items including in the context of West African and the Sahel through a Presidential Statement adopted on 30 January 2018.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. Council is expected to once again recognize the negative and disproportionate impact of climate change on the peace and stability as well as socio-economic development of the continent despite its low contribution to global warming. Council may welcome the establishment of the Africa Multi-hazard Early Warning and Early Action System (AMHEWAS) Situation Room for disaster risk reduction. In terms of enhancing AU’s capacity to provide effective support for Member States as well as Regional Economic Communities in addressing climate related risks, as pointed out in the Concept Note prepared for the session, PSC may consider the possibility of increasing the staffing and elevating the Climate Change Unit to a Climate Change Division. In relation to the issue of enhancing coordination and cooperation with the three Climate Change Commissions, Council may consider joint sessions with the Commissions. On the climate change-security nexus study it mandated in May 2018, Council may wish to set a timeline for the finalization and submission of the study for its consideration. Similarly, it may also request the Commission to expedite the appointment of a Special Envoy on climate security, which is expected to enhance the advocacy efforts and African leadership on the issue. On the upcoming COP27, Council is likely to underscore the importance of maintaining the unity of Africa and speaking in one voice in the climate change negotiations at COP27 including through strengthening support provided to the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN).


Climate Change and Peace and Security in Africa

Climate Change and Natural Disaster

Date | 26 November, 2021

Tomorrow (26 November), African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to convene its 1051st session to discuss climate change and security under the theme: ‘Climate Change and Security: the Need for an Informed Climate-Security-Development Nexus for Africa’.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to proceed in open and closed segments. In the open session, following the opening remark by Mohamad Omar Gad, Permanent Representative of Egypt and the Chairperson of the PSC for the month of November, Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), is expected to make statement. Ambassador Josepha Sacko, AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment is also scheduled to deliver presentation. Statements by Hannah Tetteh, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office to the AU, and Tanguy Gahoum, Chairperson of the Africa Group of Negotiators on Climate Change, are to follow the presentation. Wael Aboul Maged, Board Member of the Green Climate Fund, and Alastair McPhail, Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Addis Ababa may also deliver statements.

The PSC has increasingly addressed the issue of climate change and security in Africa and has become one of its standing agenda item with the decision of the Council to dedicate an annual session on the theme during its 585th session held on 30 March 2016. The Council has thus far convened about nine sessions including the latest one, 984th session on 9 March 2021 held at summit level. The Council also convened its 1043rd session on 29 October 2021 at the level of Heads of State and Governments specifically on natural disaster and human security. In several of these meetings, the Council not only expressed its concern over the adverse effects of climate change on socio-economic developments and security but also recognized the ‘inextricable link between climate change, peace and security in Africa’. A number of decisions have also been made by the PSC over the past years on climate change and security. Hence tomorrow’s sessions presents an opportunity to take stock of previous commitments including the study on the nexus between climate and security and the appointment of the Special Envoy on climate and security.

An important aspect of tomorrow’s session is to also reflect on how the PSC approaches the issue of climate and security. While the relationship between climate change and conflict is not direct, climate change may exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and tensions with an impact on the human and state security. In this sense, climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’ in conflict affected and fragile settings and a ‘potential triggers of inter-communal violence’ as highlighted in the 585th session of the Council.

The framing of the theme captures the mutually reinforcing linkages between climate change, security and development. Climate change threatens to reverse the economic gains made by the continent over the last decade and hinders progress towards realizing the Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As noted in the concept note prepared for the session, climate change affects the delivery of sustainable development plans of African countries, which in turn ‘feed and exacerbate some of the active conflicts, and can contribute to the outbreak of new conflicts and/or the relapse of others’. In this context, PSC’s 585th session, for instance, underscored the need for member states to mainstream climate change in their national development agendas. Furthermore, the Council, in several of its meetings dedicated to the theme including the 984th session, highlighted on the need to mainstream the same in all AU’s activities particularly in early warning and conflict prevention efforts.

The presentations may shed light on the different policy and institutional frameworks as well as initiatives launched with the aim to address climate change and its impact on security and socio-economic developments in Africa. These include: Africa Adaptation Initiative (AAI), the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel, Africa Blue Economy Strategy, the Bamako Declaration on the Management of Natural Resources, and the three African Climate Commissions (the Island Climate Commission, the Congo Basin Commission, and the Sahel Climate Commission), in addition to Agenda 2063 and Silencing the Guns 2030 initiative. This year also witnessed further steps with the launch of Green Recovery Action Plan in July and Africa Climate Week in September while Libya, the last African country to do so, ratified the Paris Agreement in August.

Also of interest to the Council is the issue of providing predictable and sustainable source of climate financing. Africa bears the brunt of climate change despite producing less than 4% of the emissions responsible for climate change. Yet, the aspiration to build climate resilient and low-carbon development by African countries as outlined in their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement requires a considerable as well as predictable funding. Despite some progress in terms of mobilizing and scaling up climate finance, the amount of funding flowing to the continent remains limited. Sources indicate that only few countries have been able to access the Green Climate Fund (GCF)—the single largest source of global climate finance—mainly because of the limited institutional and technical capacity to access and manage the available funds. In this connection, Sacko may brief the Council about the support that the Commission provides to member states particularly in relation to developing bankable projects. The other point the Council may need to follow up is its decision, at its 984th session, to establish an AU Special Fund for Climate Change. Most recent positive development Sacko is likely to mention is the launch of the Comprehensive Africa Climate Change Initiative (CACCI), a new partnership between the AU Commission and USAID to ‘reach the Paris Agreement goals of reducing carbon emissions and building long-term adaptation plans’.

Globally, climate and security is increasingly gaining traction. The the UN Security Council, through its Presidential Statement [SC 13189] adopted on 30 January 2018, acknowledged the link between climate change and violent conflicts in the context of West Africa and the Sahel region. Most recently, the UN Security Council convened a high-level open debate on the ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Climate and Security’ in 23 September 2021.

As tomorrow’s session comes at the backdrop of the conclusion of UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, it affords the Council the opportunity to take stock of major outcomes of COP26 and discuss on main priorities for COP27, which Egypt is going to host in 2022. The briefing by Tanguy Gahouma, AGN Chair, is likely to highlight Africa’s position and assessment of the conference. One of the issues high on the agenda for Africa at Glasgow was climate finance and adaptation. The pledge by developed countries decades ago to contribute $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries to support adaptation and mitigation in developing countries was missed (in 2019, the total climate finance was estimated to be $79.6 billion, falling short of the $100 billion target). During the COP26, African negotiators sought to scale up this financing up to $1.3 trillion per year by 2030. Tanguy Gahouma may also highlight on other aspects of the negotiation including climate responsibility as well as transfer of technologies and capacity building.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communiqué. Among others, the Council is likely to follow up on four important decisions it previously made. The first is the study on the nexus between climate change and peace and security in the continent pursuant to the decision at its 774th session. The second is on the progress in respect of the appointment of an AU Special Envoy for Climate Change and Security in line with the decision of the Council during its 774th session. The third is on AU Special Fund for Climate Change which the Council agreed to establish at its 984th session held this year in March at the Summit level, while the fourth is on the need to develop a ‘continental framework for proactively responding to the potential and real security threats posed by climate change to the continent’ as agreed during its 774th session. Given the interlinkage between climate change, security and development, the Council may reiterate its call for mainstreaming climate change in AU’s early warning, conflict prevention and Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development undertakings. In this regard, the Council may further stress the need for coordination between the department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security as well as Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment. The Council is also expected to take note of the outcomes of COP26 and may further stress on the need to identify Africa’s priorities for the upcoming COP27 and support the work of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change to better amplify African voices in climate negotiations.


Disaster Management in Africa: Challenges and Perspectives for Human Security

Climate Change and Natural Disaster

Date | 29 October, 2021

Tomorrow (29 October), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 1043rd session on ‘Disaster Management in Africa: challenges and perspectives for human security’ at the level of Heads of State and Government. This session takes place under the chairship of Mozambique, which also hosted a virtual meeting of the Committee of Ministers Responsible for Disaster Risk management from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 26th May 2021 with the aim to review progress on regional Disaster Risk Management programmes and ensure effective coordination at the regional level.

The session is expected to have two segments, an open and a closed session. In the open session invited guests will deliver their statements. Following the opening Statement by Felipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of October, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is expected to make remarks. Further remarks are expected from the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in his capacity as the AU Champion for Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons, as well as President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, in his capacity as the Leader of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSOC). AU Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Amira EL Fadil, and AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, are scheduled to deliver presentations.

This session comes on the heels of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, which is observed on 13 October to raise awareness about disaster risk reduction. This year’s commemoration took place under the theme of ‘international cooperation for developing countries to reduce their disaster risk and disaster losses’, the sixth target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The session also takes place ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, which is scheduled for 31 October-12 November 2021. As Africa bears the brunt of climate change but has contributed least to climate emissions, the summit may also present an opportunity to remind commitments around climate finance and adaptation.

This high level engagement on disaster management becomes all too important as Africa continues to face evermore frequent disasters and increasing vulnerability with a devastating repercussion on the lives and livelihoods of its people. According to World Risk Report 2021, Africa has the second highest disaster risk next to Oceania while it is the continent with the highest overall societal vulnerability—12 of the 15 most vulnerable countries in the world are located in Africa. The risk has been evident from multiple disasters that hit the continent in recent years including the volcano eruption on Mount Nyiragongo in the city of Goma in DRC, locust swarms and flooding in Horn of Africa, cyclones and storms that led to heavy rains and flooding in Southern Africa countries such as the Comoros, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. 90 percent of the major disasters in Africa have been climate related.

Over the years, the AU has put in place policy and institutional frameworks to effectively respond to the increasing disasters confronting the continent. The African Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (ARSDRR), which was adopted by the Assembly (Assembly/AU/Dec.38) during its third ordinary session held in July 2004, guides the continent’s disaster risk reduction efforts. The AUC has further developed the Programme of action (PoA) for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. To address the humanitarian consequences of disasters, the Union also adopted, among others, the Kampala Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa and the Common African Position (CAP) on Humanitarian Effectiveness that shaped Africa’s new humanitarian architecture.

On the institutional aspect, the African Risk Capacity (ARC)—a specialized agency of the AU established in 2012—comes at the center of Africa’s ‘disaster risk architecture’. The ARC aims to help African governments improve their capacities to better plan, prepare, and respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters by combining the concepts of early warning, disaster risk management, and risk finance. The Special Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF) is also established to support African countries affected by drought and/or famine although it needs to be replenished. The African Humanitarian Agency (AUHA) is also expected to facilitate coordination in humanitarian response. The African Standby Force (ASF) is another mechanism that has the mandate to respond to natural disasters.

While there are notable progress in terms of laying down the necessary structures to address disaster risks in the continent, many challenges remain. One of the significant challenges in this respect is, as captured by Lesley Ndlovu (CEO African Risk Capacity Limited) in her recent remarks on the international day for disaster risk reduction, that ‘disaster response is extremely slow and inefficient and, by the time governments and NGOs have raised enough money to respond meaningfully, the problem has become much worse, and more funding is needed’. In most cases, not only the response is ‘slow and inefficient’ but also it is largely reactive focusing on relief and immediate rehabilitation while ignoring preventive disaster reduction measures.

Hence inadequate early warning system and the gap in translating early warning to early action remain critical hurdles. As captured in the notes prepared for this session, ‘in most countries, early warning systems are sectoral in nature and hardly coordinated’. A positive development in this respect is a recent conference convened this month by the AU Commission to validate a Multi-Hazard Early Warning/Early Action (MHEWS/EA) Framework. The development of the Framework is a step forward in building the resilience of African countries as it ensures a functional early warning system. It is also to be recalled that the Council, at its 864th session held in August 2019, suggested the ‘establishment of command centers which operate on a 24 hour basis to closely monitor and timeously issue early warning alerts on impending natural disasters’, something that the Council find it worth following up in terms of strengthening the early warning system.

Inadequate funding has heavily affected disaster management. Not only there is a huge gap between the needs of people at risk to disasters and the available funding but also most of African countries and the continental mechanisms lack sustainable and predictable funding as they rely largely on external sources. Though there is an Assembly Decision to increase AU Humanitarian Fund from 2% to 4% of member states’ assessed contributions, meant to ensure predictable and sustainable resources for the AU to enable fulfil its humanitarian responsibilities, its practicality and buy-in from member states remain questionable. As indicated in the notes prepared for tomorrow’s PSC session, there is a growing trend of establishing uncoordinated disaster specific funds, and hence there is a need to embrace ‘multi-hazard funding mechanisms’.

The expected outcome is a communiqué. Among others, while commending the existing AU structures that are established to address disaster risks, the PSC may emphasize on the need to operationalize and strengthen the capacity of these structures, and in this respect, there much to be desired from member states in supporting the mechanisms. In addition, the Council may also stress the importance of enhancing coordination among the plethora of AU mechanisms for disaster management to ensure complementarity as well as avoid duplication of efforts. The PSC may underscore the importance of shifting the focus from treating the effects of disasters (reactive measures) towards a proactive approach that is more economical and efficient. On the funding challenge, the Council may stress not only on the need to rely on Africa’s own resources in the spirit of pan-Africanism but also highlight the imperative of diversifying sources of finance, as well ensuring predictable and sustainable funding for the AU to effectively discharge the expected role in addressing disaster risks. In this regard, the Council is likely to explore options to raise funds from non-traditional donors from non-traditional donors including African civil society, private sector and the diaspora, in addition to traditional sources of funding. The Council may further reiterate its support for the upcoming African Humanitarian Summit and Pledging Conference in Malabo, which is expected to serve as impetus to operationalize the African Humanitarian Agency and mobilize required financial resources to address the ever growing humanitarian needs of the continent. In relation to building effective early warning system and bridging the gaps between early warning and early action, the Council may also urge for the finalization of the Multi-Hazard Early Warning/Early Action (MHEWS/EA) Framework and the development of Continental MHEWS/EA Situation Room, which are pivotal in providing operational guidance on Multi-Agency and Multi-Sectoral coordination and communications at member states, regional and continental level. Finally, the Council may reiterate its 864th session which underscored the need for the ‘Regional Standby Forces to reinforce their engagement in responding to natural disasters’.


Briefing on the Locust Invasion in East Africa

Climate Change and Natural Disaster

Date | 09 April, 2020

Tomorrow (10 April), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to have a briefing on the locust invasion endangering food security of millions of people in the East Africa region. The briefing is expected to take place through electronic exchanges. It is envisaged that the PSC will consider the written briefing from Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The PSC previously held sessions on the impacts of climate change induced whether events including El Nino and the cyclones that affected in the Eastern and Southern Africa coasts. Thus, the 558th session of the PSC was dedicated to “The impact of EI Nino on Peace, Security and Stability in Africa and the Humanitarian Consequences’’. Under Article 6(f) of the PSC Protocol, it is envisaged that one of the functions of the PSC covers humanitarian action and disaster management. It is within the framework of these foundations that tomorrow’s remote briefing is being held on the locus invasion.

Before the novel coronavirus (COVID19) became the global emergency that has taken the center stage in policy processes across Africa, as in other parts of the world, the largest locust invasion threatening the food security and livelihood of millions of people has already been under way in the East Africa region. In his address during the opening of the AU Summit on 9 February, AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat remarked in passing on the threat posed by the locust invasion in East Africa. The AU along with FAO organized the first ministerial meeting for the Desert Locust affected countries on 7 February 2020. This was followed by IGAD Heads of State and Government Summit.

The locust invasion has been spreading rapidly across this region since December 2019. Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia remain the most heavily impacted, with bands of hoppers and swarms of adult locusts devouring vegetation in multiple areas; mature desert locusts continue to breed in all three countries as of early March. According to reports of World Food Program (FAO), locust infestations have also intensified in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Sudan in recent months due to increased rainfall and the arrival of desert locust swarms from other affected countries. Other countries feared to be affected by the infestation include South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

The scale of the invasion and the attendant impact is unprecedented in recent decades. It is reported to be the worst infestation in 70 years. It is reported that the swarms are extremely large. In North-Eastern Kenya, one swarm was measured to be 37 miles long and 25 miles wide. The swarms, which can contain as many as 80 million adult locusts, travel up to 80 miles each day. Just a small swarm of the insects can eat as much food as 35,000 people daily.

The invasion has already adversely impacted communities in affected parts of the countries concerned. Things can get worse. The fear is that the number of locusts could grow up to 500 times before drier weather arrives if the efforts of countries including the aerial spraying is not able to bring the swarms under control. According to the FAO, the longer the locust outbreak continues in an already environmentally fragile region with existing food security problems, the higher is the risk of famine. This is particularly the case in conflict affected areas.

Even without the locust outbreak, some 25 million people in East Africa already faced high levels of food insecurity. It is pointed out in Gebeyehu’s briefing note that ‘one major concern is that the new infestation will lead to significant crop losses in areas previously affected by droughts and floods as it will increase vulnerability among the affected households.’ IGAD’s chief also warns that ‘[a]ny spread to major producing areas could cause more significant impact in the region. Under the worst-case scenario, FAO estimates that there would be approximately 2.5 to 4.9 million additional caseload of food insecurity or worse.’ In an appeal to the world for mobilizing $76 million to end the locust plague, the FAO Director warned that inaction will affect 13 million people ‘devastated by the loss of their crops and livelihoods’.

The crisis has become a major issue in the affected countries. Highlighting the gravity of the threat posed by the locust invasion, Somalia declared a state of emergency. Aerial spraying of pesticides is the most effective way of controlling the locust swarm. Countries in the region have tried to use both ground and aerial spraying of pesticide. As pointed out in Gebeyehu’s briefing note, these operations have faced various challenges. These challenges include the size and speed of mobility of the swarms, their coverage of areas not easily accessible and security issue arising from presence of Al Shabaab. Of contemporary concern is the impact of measures announced by various governments to prevent escalation of COVID-19 pandemic including disruption of surveillance control operations, and deployment of control experts and equipment and delayed supply of pesticides and equipment, including aircrafts.

Given the regional scale of the outbreak, there a need not only to support the efforts of affected countries for containing the spread of the infestation but also for a regional coordination and approach. It is here that the role of the regional body IGAD becomes critical.

While the threat that the locust invasion presents to the food security and livelihood of millions of people in the region deserves attention in its own, as a phenomenon induced by climate change, it should also be addressed in relation to the thematic focus of the PSC on climate change and its various peace and security and humanitarian impacts in Africa.

The expected outcome of the remote briefing is a communique. This is expected to cover various issues including measures for enhanced response for the infestation most importantly enhanced continental and international support for desert locust surveillance and control operations. In this respect, apart from mobilizing resources and support for such operations, the PSC may call on affected countries to coordinate their responses and in collaboration with IGAD provide the required cooperation to ensure that the impact of COVID19 measures are limited to the absolute minimum. In areas affected by Al Shabab, the PSC may call on cessation of hostilities and provision of access to those areas for undertaking the operations for controlling the locust in those areas. Given the impact of the infestation on the livelihood and food security affected communities and the humanitarian crisis it poses, the PSC may call for provision of humanitarian assistance and urge member states of the AU and the international community to heed the appeal of the FAO for mobilizing the funding necessary for the operation to stop the plague. The PSC may also urge the need for enhancing continental action for dealing with the multifaceted manifestations and impact of climate change and the non-military threat that this locust invasion poses to the development, peace and security of affected countries.


Climate change and its impact on Island States in Africa

Climate Change and Natural Disaster

Date | 09 September, 2019

Tomorrow (10 September) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold an open session on climate change and its impact on Island States in Africa.

The AU Commission, particularly the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture and a representative from the UN may brief the Council. Representatives from Island States in Africa may also deliver their statements.

The PSC has increasingly addressed the issue of climate change and its impact on peace and security. At its 828th session it highlighted that ‘climate change is an existential multidimensional and multi-layered threat to local, national, regional and continental peace, security and stability’. The 864th session has also examined the humanitarian angle of climate change induced disasters.

Building on these PSC meetings, tomorrow’s session aims at particularly addressing the unique challenges faced by Island States. The presentation by the AUC may provide an overview of the efforts and activities undertaken in the area of climate change particularly in the finalization of the African Climate Change Strategy. The presentation may also delve into how the strategy will aim at reflecting the particular needs of island states.

Although tomorrow’s session covers issues of climate change wider than those relating to the mandate of the PSC, it could frame and focus its discussions in line with its mandate in facilitating ‘humanitarian action and disaster management’ in accordance with Article 7(p) of the PSC Protocol. Particularly in relation to disaster related displacement, the PSC through complementary bodies including the African Standby Force may play a role in the management of disasters affecting Island States building on its session of 6 August on ‘Natural and other disasters and peace and security in Africa’.

The discussions may also draw on the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) assessment missions undertaken in the six African Small Island Developing States (SIDS) namely Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe and the Seychelles starting from 2014. The mission report has stressed the vulnerability of SIDS to extreme events both sudden onset disasters including cyclones and to slow onset processes such as sea level rise. These challenges will require robust resilience and adaptation mechanisms as well as institutional arrangements for predicting and responding to climate change events particularly affecting such states.

When Cyclone Keneth hit the east and South-eastern coast of Africa last April causing death of many people and destruction, it affected not only countries on mainland Africa including Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania but also island states particularly Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles. This event has shown presents solid evidence on the threat of climate change induced disasters facing island states highlighted in the UNECA assessment.

The assessment report also highlighted that despite common characteristics, there are variations in terms of impact and capacity among the SIDS. While Cape Verde, Mauritius and Seychelles have better management and response capacity, the other SIDS may need particular attention in boosting their coping capacity.

In an effort of building regional support the first conference of the African SIDS and Madagascar (SIDSAM) held in 2016 officially formalized the creation of the African group of SIDS plus Madagascar.

In enhancing these efforts and drawing linkage with the mandate of the PSC on peace and security and humanitarian action, the PSC may recall its 774th session in which it has requested the AUC, ‘within the context of the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), to undertake a study on the nexus between climate change and peace and security in the continent with a particular attention on the plight of Island Member States.’ The study may examine the various initiatives that have been undertaken in resilience and adaptation but also in terms of the threats it poses on some of the particu vulnerabilities facing island states of the continent.

Tomorrow’s session may recall its previous decisions on climate change with a view to ensuring the needs and experiences of Island States is also well captured in the various climate change related engagements of the AU including in the work of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change as provided for in its 774th session outcome document.

In this context the PSC may also reiterate its 864th session on the ‘need to expedite the finalization of the necessary institutional framework, with a view to expediting the operationalization of the PRC Sub-Committee on Climate Change’. This will be a critical step in supporting the mandate of PSC in deliberating on peace and security matters in the context and experience of SIDS. The sub-committee may play a wide role in tabling key issues that require the immediate attention of the PSC.
The early warning mechanism which are utilized for peace and security purposes may also expand towards incorporating indicators for purposes of climate change induced disaster and human crisis. The PSC may also receive early-warning briefings that are specific to the risks associated with SIDS and on how their vulnerability may also be a cause of insecurity. The early warning team in close collaboration with the PRC sub-committee on climate change (once operationalized) and the climate change and disaster risk reduction divisions of the AUC, may provide the PSC up-to-date and regular briefings and data on the status of SIDS.

The PSC may utilize the session not only to remind the need for regional cooperation and solidary but also to highlight the need to fulfil global commitments towards mitigation and adaptation support to developing countries by developed countries.

The session is taking place ahead of the high-level UN Climate Action Summit to be convened in September 2019 by the UN Secretary General. The PSC may particularly take advantage of the timing to craft key messages that can inform the summit in considering the vulnerabilities experienced by African SIDS. The expected outcome is a press statement. The PSC may stress the special vulnerabilities faced by Island States particularly SIDS due to the effects of climate change. It may call on for the speedy operationalization of existing mechanisms and institutions namely the AU Climate Change Strategy and the PRC sub-committee on climate change. The PSC may also express support for the SIDSAM group of states and their initiatives for addressing the particular challenges facing them as a result of climate change. It may also reiterate and call on AUC to finalize the study on nexus between climate change and peace and security with a dimension addressing the needs of African island states.


Open session on Natural and Other Disasters and Peace and Security in Africa 

Climate Change and Natural Disaster

Date | 5 August, 2019

Tomorrow (6 August) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will hold the first open session of the month on ‘Natural and Other Disasters and Peace and Security in Africa: Beyond the Normative Frameworks’. An expert from the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe is expected to deliver a presentation. The AUC is also expected to make a statement, which among others, seeks to update the PSC on the operationalization of the AU Humanitarian Agency.

The session is being held in the aftermath of two major cyclone events that wreaked havoc in the east and South eastern coast of Africa, the worst cyclone events to hit the Southern hemisphere last March and May. Zimbabwe, the PSC Chair for this month, was among the countries affected by the first of the cyclones, Cyclone Idai that hit the South-eastern coast of Africa in March.

While Cyclone Idai affected Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, Cyclone Keneth that hit the east and South-eastern coast of Africa causing death of many people and destruction in Mozambique, Tanzania, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Malawi and Mayotte Island. The cyclones resulted in the death of over 1000 people, in the destruction of farmlands, houses and public infrastructure such as schools and public health centres.

As these events show, Africa, while being the continent that contributed the least to the causes of climate change, is one of the parts of the world most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It has been pointed out in a study by USAID that globally 57 per cent of the countries facing the highest double burden of climate exposure and political fragility risks are located in sub-Saharan Africa. The UN led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown strong links between the impacts of climate change in Africa with some of the most intractable conflict on the continent. These conflicts are caused and exacerbated by existing structural environmental, socio-economic, political and technological weaknesses including environmental pressure over scarce resources, unemployment and poverty.

The agenda for tomorrow’s session indicates that the objectives of the session include ‘integrate climate information into infrastructure ecosystem and settlement plans’ and identify ‘innovative financing for reconstruction and climate sensitive infrastructure planning’. Indeed, the scale of the impact of the two cyclones reflects the weak state of the institutions and infrastructure of affected societies. The poor capacity of institutions and the state of the physical infrastructure and social services also contribute to poor mitigation, and response capacities.

The AU has policy frameworks to support member states in preparedness, prevention and mitigation of natural disasters including through the adoption of the program of action for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Africa. According to the 2018 UN Secretary General report on the implementation of the Sendai Framework, only 13 African member states have national disaster risk reduction strategies that are aligned with the Sendai Framework. In terms of the role of the PSC, one of the roles assigned to the PSC under Article 6(4) pf the PSC Protocol relates to humanitarian action and disaster management. The African Peace and Security Architecture Roadmap 2016–20 and the AU Master Roadmap for Silencing the Guns by 2020 also recognize climate change as a cross cutting issue.

The AU Humanitarian Policy Framework and its annex the policy guideline on the role of the African Standby Force in Humanitarian Action and Natural Disaster Support (HANDS) articulate practical steps in facilitating response and humanitarian action in complex crisis or emergencies. The role of ASF in HANDS is also anchored in the PSC Protocol. Article 13(f) of the Protocol highlights one of the key functions of the ASF as being the facilitation of “humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of civilian population in conflict areas and support efforts to address major natural disasters”.

While these policy frameworks and institutional awareness are important, these have not as yet translated into a coherent and sustained operational action. Accordingly, it is of major interest for tomorrow’s PSC meeting to look into the systematic inclusion of environment and the effects of climate change in the continent’s peace and security architecture and the development and security agenda of the AU, its member states and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

The role of AU organs is also of interest. In this respect, it is worth noting that At its last ordinary session held in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted Resolution 417 on Resolution on the human rights impacts of extreme weather in Eastern and Southern Africa due to climate change outlining specific measures for addressing the human rights dimension of extreme weather events such as the two cyclones that hit east and south-eastern Africa.

In terms of inclusion of issues of climate change into the peace and security architecture, an important avenue is the establishment, as part of the continental conflict early warning system, a dedicated framework of whether and climate forecasting not only for detecting and alerting vulnerable countries of emerging whether disasters but also for mobilizing responses for mitigating impacts of such events and rehabilitating affected communities. As noted in the concept note for tomorrow’s session, this can be done by tapping into the expertise of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which can play the role of supporting early warning and preparedness work. The contribution that the WMO can make has also been recognized at the global level when the organization has addressed the UNSC for the first time during the January 2019 open debate.
As noted above, tomorrow’s session will discuss the operationalization of the African Humanitarian Agency and its role in responding to natural and other form of disasters. The council has highlighted its expectation to see the full operationalization of the agency by January 2019 and has frequently called for the swift completion of the process.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to provide an opportunity to review the progress that has been made so far and outstanding issues for the full operationalization of the Agency.

Also of interest for tomorrow’s session is the integration into the strategies and action plans of the AU Humanitarian Agency dedicated tools and capacity for mobilizing intervention and resources for climate resilient infrastructure planning and for the anticipation, management and mitigation of climate induced disasters in Africa.

The PSC has thus far held five sessions on the impact of climate change induced crises in Africa. This session presents an opportunity for reviewing the evolution of PSC’s consideration of the impact of climate change in Africa and gaps in the PSC’s approach and AU’s responsiveness to climate change related disasters on the continent.

The expected outcome of the session is a press statement. The PSC may reiterate the importance of comprehensive, climate related security risk information, including credible data and analyses with a view to enabling Member States to predict with more precision the frequency of climate change related risks, including natural disasters, and to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities. It may also urge for increased allocation of national budgets for disaster risk preparedness and reduction and for integration into development finance of support for climate resilient infrastructural planning and community development interventions. The PSC may endorse the call of Resolution 417 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for the AU to declare the year 2021 the AU Year for Climate Change preparedness and response. It may also call on the AUC to expedite the operationalization of the AU Humanitarian Agency and the inclusion, as part of the finalization of the outcomes of the study on the nexus between climate change and peace and security (mandated through its 774th session), of assessment on Africa’s vulnerability to climate induced disaster and the measures required for mitigation and response.