Mali has, over the past decade, experienced violent conflict, rainfall variability and an increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, according to a new Adelphi report.
The report, titled “Weathering Risk Climate, Peace and Security Assessment,” delved into the climate crisis in the country and the violent conflicts that have occurred in places like Gao, Kidal, Timbuktu, Mopti, Segou, and now in the south. . and western regions.
Much attention on Mali has focused on threats from jihadists and changes in the political and security landscape following the military coup. Mali has already experienced coups in 2012, August 2020 and most recently in May 2021. The military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita has set a timetable for the transition and elections.
The country has also been under the spotlight following the withdrawal of French troops from Operation Barkhane, a counter-insurgency mission in the Sahel.
The French intervention in the country began in 2013 under the name of Operation Serval, a campaign aimed at putting down the rebellion in the north of the country before the transition to a counter-terrorist force. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali also provides security support.
The Adelphi report highlights key drivers of instability such as poor governance, structural socio-economic exclusion and marginalization. It describes poor governance as a cause and a consequence of conflict.
The situation is further complicated because, at the same time, livelihoods are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. According to the assessment, the problem is caused by a wide range of factors such as recession, inequality, insecurity, corruption, social exclusion and policies that erode rather than enable coping strategies .
These dynamics, he says, “are intermingled with significant demographic changes in the form of population growth, urbanization, moves towards sedentarization and movements in search of economic opportunities”.
In the midst of these economic instabilities and difficulties, climate and conflict intersect. Although the report notes that “climate variability, both geographically and over time, is not new to Mali, but recent decades have seen a dramatic change.”
It also indicates that Mali’s environmental challenges stem from climate change and resource management systems often directly affected by conflict.
The German think tank reports that the average temperature has risen by around 0.96°C since the turn of the 20th century, with higher temperatures in the north of the country. It reveals that during the same period, the average monthly level of precipitation decreased by 5%, with the wetter southern regions (more strongly Kayes and Sikasso) and the arid regions of Timbuktu and Taoudenit being particularly affected.
In some areas, precipitation has increased, “the average number of heavy precipitation days per year has increased from about 2.9 in 1999-2003 to about 3.6 days in 2012-2016,” the report said. He adds: “After the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s, an increase in flooding was observed throughout the Niger River Basin, in a general return to wetter conditions.”
Nevertheless, droughts would have remained a recurring phenomenon. The country is also under pressure from land degradation, which it says has reduced “vegetation cover and contributes to the loss of fertile land – including a loss of tree cover of 15% or 366,000 ha due to deforestation between 2000 and 2020”.
Mali’s projections are quite worrying, with rainfall and water availability highly uncertain, “but given projected population growth, overall per capita water availability will most likely decline sharply.” Likewise, the temperature is projected to increase “between 1.8 and 2.5°C by 2030, and between 2.0 and 4.6°C by 2080 compared to pre-industrial levels”.
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