Climate impacts as conflict drivers? Qualitative country study in the Sahel Region

The aim of the project is to investigate climate change impacts as conflict drivers in qualitative country studies and to generate a cause and impact analysis. The case selection is based on the results of previous climate models.

Building upon a model based analysis of droughts and crop failures under different warming scenarios, the project will qualitatively investigate the link between climate change and conflicts in a country of the Sahel Region. The causes of conflicts known from the literature will be further investigated within a political science framework to estimate the impact of future climate change on the occurrence of conflicts. Therefore, the methods of desk study, literature review as well as fieldwork and qualitative data collection will be used. On the basis of the selected country case, we aim to advance theory formation of the interdisciplinary research field “climate change and conflicts”.

While research on climate impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has delivered a profound knowledge base, the research of causal relationships between climate impacts and anthropogenic systems is still relatively young and fragmented. This is due to a lack of political and climate-scientific expertise in the traditional branches of climate and conflict science. Therefore, this interdisciplinary project will enable the synthesis between the climate science expertise of PIK and the regional knowledge as well as the peace and conflict research at GIGA.

Participating Institutes

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)


Kira Vinke (PIK)

Dr. Maria Martin (PIK)

Dr. Christian von Soest (GIGA)

Project term

08/2018 - 04/2019