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29 April 2019

Strauss Distinguished Scholar Joshua Busby gave an interview on the PBS segment, In Niger, Rising Temperatures Mean Barren Fields, but Fertile Ground for Terrorism, where he discussed the impact of climate change on fragile states. The segment itself focused on how the Sahel region in Africa is already facing immediate risks from climate change. There are more frequent and prolonged droughts as well as flash flooding which makes farming harder in a predominately agricultural area. In the segment, Busby says that climate change undermines economic development and that fragile governments are ill-equipped to deal with these hazards. Throughout the Sahel, there are high risks of humanitarian emergencies and extended or renewed conflict because many of the are heavily reliant on agriculture, have a recent history of violence, and have institutions that are not fully inclusive. In the face of droughts, storms or other climate hazards, Sahel countries are likely to struggle with conflict resolution and addressing humanitarian emergencies.

In order to deal with these issues, people need to adopt new ways of farming that work with the new climate realities. Organizations are trying to organize farmers into groups and equip them with the technology and know-how to adapt. Governments also need to establish new mechanisms to address conflict between groups over scarce grazing land and water, among other measures.

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