chapter  15
The environment and conflict in Africa
ByKevin Dunn
Pages 11

This chapter explores the various ways in which the environment and environmental concerns relate to issues of security and insecurity in Africa. In recent years, there has been a conceptual shift around security, namely away from state-centric assumption and the narrow interests of state-leaders to more inclusive understandings of human security. At the same time, concerns about environmental degradation, climate change, and scarce resources became more pronounced after the end of the Cold War. Some observers made claims that conflict over scarce resources, such as oil and valuable minerals, as well as resources made scarce by environmental degradation, such as clean drinking water and arable land, were increasingly prevalent in Africa, and would only increase in the coming years. While offering a variety of interpretations and possible solutions, observers sought to understand what, if any, connections existed between the environment and conflict in Africa, and elsewhere. This chapter will briefly summarize the conceptual shift around security and human security, and then offers a discussion of the impending environmental crises assumed by some to be facing Africa. The chapter then turns to examine the multiple ways in which observers have claimed, and refuted, connections between conflict and the African environment.