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Climate Change, Water Resources and Conflict in the Niger River Basin

2010 – 2012
Project Status: Completed

Funded by:


This research explored the consequences of climate change and climate variability in the Niger River Basin for human security and the risk of conflict. The research examined the linkages between climate, conflict, human security, adaptation ad resilience in a multi-scale study that included three case studies of water management and climate impacts on the River Niger. Two of the case studies are in Mali and one if in Nigeria.

The River Niger traverses a region on the Sahel that has experienced significant reductions in rainfall and river flow since the late 1960s as well as extreme rainfall events and significant flooding impacts in recent years. The impacts of future climate change in the region are highly uncertain. This research assessed the tensions and risks of conflict associated with water resources and climate stresses, as well as the impacts on the livelihoods and human security of vulnerable populations. The significance of climate stresses is carefully assessed in the context of other key social and political factors in the generation of tension and conflict. The research considered the role of adaptation, institutions and conflict resolution mechanisms as sources of resilience.

Partner Organisations:
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change research

International Alert

Centre d’Appui á la Recherche et á la Formation (CAREF) Mali

Institute of Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

University of Abdou Moumouni Dioffo, Niger

DEV Key Contact:

Roger Few


Selected Output:
Watch a video of lead researcher Marisa Goulden and colleagues from International Alert discussing the research findings in an event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Centre in November 2011.

Goulden, M., Few, R., Abebe, L., Brooks, N., Daoud, M., Konaté, M. K., Sarney, E., Smith, D., Umoh, B., Vernon, P., Weiner, J., and Yamba, B., 2011, ‘Climate Change, Water and Conflict in the Niger River Basin’, International Alert, London and University fo East Anglia, Norwich.

Project Website:  

International Alert