Climate Change

The Effects of Climate Change on Resource Conflict

Kenya’s economy is largely dependent on rainfed agriculture which is vulnerable to extreme weather and climate change. When rains fail, livelihoods, water resources, and population health, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions are most affected. 

Due to the recurrent droughts, and vulnerabilities, wild creatures like lions and elephants have had to travel farther in search of food and water. When lions kill sheep and goats in the settlements next to the national parks, they cause friction with people. Food crops have been known to be trampled by elephants while they are in quest of food and water.

This conflict with animals has escalated in recent years, according to Kenya Wildlife Services data, between 2020 and 2022, more than 370 Kenyans reportedly lost their lives after attacks by wild animals, while over 2,040 were injured. Such negative conflicts between people and wild animals thus pose a threat to the preservation of biodiversity and the extinction of some species. 

Although climate change is not a direct source of conflict, as described by the United Nations, competition for natural resources is fueled by the exploitation of high-value resources like diamond and gold among others, or limited ones like land and water fuel conflict when those who are privileged feel the need to defend their current rights, and marginalized groups struggle for the possibility to secure rights. Minority groups may occasionally compete with one another for influential status and the fight for resource access then gets intertwined with the quest for “acceptance of one’s identity, status, and political rights,” Food and Agriculture Organization.

It is, therefore, important for communities to accept change and realize its impact on their society and economic development. And although such changes put pressure on existing resources, when managed well, there are increased benefits to the sustainability of resource use. 

With the decentralization, devolution, and management of policies, local communities, households, and individuals are encouraged to participate in decisions that affect their lives and the resources that support them.