Southern Africa is famous for its rich nature and biosphere, diverse and vibrant cultures, and world-renowned natural sites. However, the region is also affected by political fragility and high levels of inequality and human insecurity. Moreover, the climate crisis has become one of the most pressing common challenges, cutting across national borders and increasingly leading to events with drastic socio-economic consequences for the regional population. All of these climate-related events have directly or indirectly impacted livelihoods, economic prosperity, health, and increased vulnerability due to diseases, extreme heat, or famine. This climate-fragility risk brief offers a concise overview of the climate security situation in Southern Africa. It maps the varying climate impacts and associated security risks, as well as key conflict dynamics.
The threats posed by climate change to long-term peace and stability in Southern Africa include:
- Slow- and sudden-onset climate disasters trigger forced migration due to food and livelihood insecurity.
- Climate-induced disasters reduce biodiversity and destroy infrastructure, thereby threatening livelihoods and increasing vulnerability, which in turn can lead to, or compound, social unrest and instability.
- Sea-level rise and marine disaster and disruption threaten mainland coastal communities and island states, impeding opportunities for economic growth and spurring migration.
These threats however are not inevitable: If the right measures and policies are put in place, they can be addressed and averted. Given the cross-border implications of climate-related impacts, coordination and collaboration are essential.