23 April 2024

Leveraging livelihood diversification for peacebuilding in climate and conflict-affected contexts

Livelihoods are central to the relationship between climate change and conflict. Changes in temperature and precipitation patterns negatively affect household income sources and food supply. The lack of alternative livelihood options, coupled with political, social and economic strife, may lead people to resort to violence to safeguard their means of survival.

Despite the recognition that climate change related livelihood deterioration is associated with conflict, the use of livelihood diversification as a peacebuilding tool remains limited in conflict-affected and post-conflict contexts, and most diversification is done autonomously. Moreover, although women play a significant role in agricultural production, initiatives that support women’s livelihoods are overlooked as a peacebuilding tool, overshadowed by peacebuilding efforts that focus on addressing the consequences of sexual violence after conflict.

After examining how livelihood diversification can offer viable options in settings where climate change and resulting livelihood insecurity increase the risk of conflict, this policy brief offers two recommendations:

  • Supporting viable and sustainable livelihood diversification interventions: policymakers and practitioners should support and facilitate the implementation of livelihood diversification strategies that are viable, sustainable and climate-resilient.
  • Increasing support for women’s livelihoods: policymakers and practitioners should design livelihood diversification programmes for conflict-affected and post-conflict settings that are specifically geared towards women and their economic needs.

These are extracts from a policy brief published in April 2024 by SIPRI, authored by Farah Hegazi and Katongo Seyuba. The full paper can be accessed through the link here.

Photo credit: MONUSCO Photos via Flickr