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Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire - report on climate change and violent conflict

21 November 2017 - Christian Aid has today launched a new, two-part report analysing the threat of climate change increasing violence or conflict, and how wars and instability in turn aggravate climate change.

The report called Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire coincides with this week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

Christian Aid has warned that climate change can present a real and growing threat to global peace. As global warming continues to rise, this will massively aggravate violence. Global peace building efforts will need to be increasingly aware of the potential of climate change to aggravate the drivers of violent conflict.

Eric Gutierrez, Christian Aid Policy Advisor said: “Over the past 15 years, the threat of climate change to global security has been forecast. It has been predicted that food shortages, decreasing water supplies and reduced access to energy could lead to economic and political turmoil, social unrest and conflict.'

'In the worst hit parts of the world, we are already seeing the serious impact of climate change in driving conflict. From 1st January to 7th October 2017, there were 197 incidents of violence between herder groups and farming communities in Africa, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Database.'

'In June, up to 80 people died in three days of violent clashes between farming and herder communities in Mali, which spilled into Burkina Faso. Soon after, 36 people were killed in clashes between pastoralists in Rumbek, South Sudan over grazing land and migration routes.'

'Desertification, prolonged drought and loss of grazing land are causing herders to migrate into regions traditionally held by farmers. Poor farmers, denied access to productive land, water and infrastructure, are growing their crops further afield. The result is that two historically interdependent livelihoods, agriculture and pastoralism, have become seasonally incompatible, with deadly consequences.'

'Christian Aid believes that the best form of climate security is climate justice. Conflicts over land and water will escalate unless herder and farmer livelihoods can be made compatible again.'

Christian Aid is calling for world leaders to commit urgent global action to keep global average temperature rise to below 20C; for greater support for adaptation and resilience in communities hit by drought and flooding; and to make finance flows consistent with lower greenhouse emissions and climate-resilient development.

To prevent conflict and violence related to climate change, Christian Aid is calling for greater global support for initiatives to prevent climate-induced tensions from escalating into violence.

'Contentious issues, such as the use of land for huge agricultural projects in developing nations to benefit rich countries, should to be addressed with more urgency,' said Eric Gutierrez. 'We hope that this report will trigger conversations in Bonn on tackling the security threats of climate change.'

To download the reports visit:

Out of the Frying Pan - Part One: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/resources/campaigns/out-frying-pan-fire-part-one
Out of the Frying Pan - Part Two: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/resources/campaigns/out-frying-pan-fire-part-two

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For media queries contact:

Meabh Smith
Head of Communications
E: mjsmith@christian-aid.org  T: 087 2068483

Notes to editors: 

  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

  2. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

  3. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter @christianaidirl

  4. For more information about the work of Christian Aid Ireland visit www.christianaid.ie

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