Environmental and climatic changes have a disproportionate impact on countries affected by conflict.

We focus on building resilience to the interconnected challenges of climate change, poverty and conflict.

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Environmental and climatic changes have a disproportionate impact on countries affected by conflict, interacting with factors such as poverty, political instability and social tensions.

We focus on building resilience to the interconnected challenges of climate change, poverty and conflict. We help to establish, promote and sustain peaceful communities that are able to withstand shocks and respond to change. We improve understanding of climate and security risks in vulnerable regions. We also advise local, national and international decision-makers involved in climate change, development and peacebuilding.

Our work is important because environmental and climatic changes, as well as poorly planned and uncoordinated attempts to adapt to their effects, could set back development and jeopardise the chance of sustainable peace.


Communities around the world are already experiencing more extreme weather conditions, changes to agricultural cycles, longer dry seasons and rising sea levels. This is contributing to different patterns of migration, competition for natural resources and food insecurity – trends which look set to increase over time.

Environmental and climatic changes are affecting and exacerbating the complex burdens that developing countries have to face. Their impact is felt the most by the poorest and most vulnerable in society, particularly in fragile and conflict-affected states. Here, the disruption caused by these changes combines with issues such as poor infrastructure, fragile institutions and the effects of recent armed conflict or social unrest, to create a double-headed threat to peace and stability.

Effective responses to this threat are hampered by gaps in knowledge about the social, political and security impact of such change and a lack of understanding on how to strengthen resilience to these risks and challenges. There is also weak capacity among governments and international institutions to address these issues.

The inequitable governance of natural resources can also be a major cause of unrest and conflict. Mistrust and conflict between states, government departments and local communities are a major barrier to more effective and equitable natural resource governance. Greater public participation and consultation, as well as fair allocation of resources, are vital for promoting more peaceful management of natural resources.

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Forests can help make war or peace

This blog post was originally published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It is written by Janani Vivekananda and Janpeter Schilling. Globally, around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for food, water, fuel, shelter and income. Some 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is found in forests. At the same time, forests absorb and store significant amounts of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas driving climate change.

Engineering peace

Infrastructure is a growth sector and emerging markets present massive opportunities for investment. Yet any investment carries with it certain risks, especially in countries affected by conflict. Our project, ‘Engineering peace’, aims to reduce the impact that engineering companies have on communities and their ability to adapt to climate change.

Why the current controversy on climate change and conflict is missing the point

For several years researchers have been analysing the links between climate change and violent conflict. The dominant form of analysis is a quantitative approach, which correlates temperature and precipitation data with conflict records. Yet the ambiguous findings of several studies have led to an intense controversy within the research community.

On shrimp, salt and security

A woman in the Gabura region of Bangladesh catches shrimp. Photo by Oxfam GB/International

A woman in the Gabura region of Bangladesh catches shrimp. Photo by Oxfam GB/InternationalThis month, International Alert published an article in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability on the effect of environmental risks on people’s livelihoods in Bangladesh and India, and responses to these risks.

Kibera slum, Kenya: resettling the problem

Kibera is Nairobi’s biggest and most notorious slum, burrowed in the heart of the city, with the river Kibera flowing – or rather stagnating – through it. The slum, which houses between 300,000 and 1 million inhabitants (I’ve not heard the same population figure twice!), is as notorious for being Kenya’s ‘celebrity slum’ as it is for the poverty, health, crime and violence which afflicts it. Over the years, it has seen its fair share of development interventions, but little seems to have done much to address these deep seated challenges its inhabitants face.

Climate change and security in Tajikistan

This project aims to increase the resilience of local communities and institutions to the effects of climate and environmental change. Through a combination of research, discussions and knowledge sharing, we hope to strengthen people's understanding of these challenges and to improve their ability to respond to them. By doing so, we hope to promote peace not just in Tajikistan but in the wider region too.


of Pakistan's population is dependent on agriculture and according to the United Nations Development Programme, it is the third most vulnerable country in the world to floods.

Climate and security in Tajikistan

International Alert has just completed an innovative project exploring the complex ways in which climate and environmental change interacts with existing challenges to sustainable development and peace in Tajikistan.

Our research project, ‘Climate change, community resilience and effective response in Tajikistan’, is the first and only initiative in Tajikistan to look at the local dimensions of resilience to the related risks of climate change, poverty and conflict.