09 December 2014

Hendrix on Water Security in the Sahel

In CCAPS Research Brief No. 24, researcher Cullen Hendrix analyses water security in the Sahel region by examining a specific case study: Niger. Hendrix argues that Niger illustrates how strained water resources in a country can be "a source both of conflict and cooperation."

Niger suffers from recurrent droughts and a wide variability in annual rainfall, straining agricultural output. This, combined with explosive population growth, has made Niger vulnerable to instability and violence. Competition over water and natural resources has led to conflict in Lake Chad and northern Niger.

However the co-management of water resources can be an opportunity to cooperate, says Hendrix, as can be seen in collaboration between Niger and its neighbors in the establishment and continuing work of the Niger Basin Authority. Another example of cooperation is the reforestation of the Zinder and Yatenga regions of Niger and Burkina Faso, respectively – a project instigated by changes in farming habits on a local level.

Hendrix concludes that local and international institutions thus have a role in "helping to pacify interactions around this critical natural resource [water]" and that water policy issues "need not [always] be high tech or guided by national-level policy."

This brief is based on content created for the Navanti Group, and is used with their permission.

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