Project Launch: Addressing Climate and Water Driven Migration and Conflict Interlinkages to Build Community Resilience in the Congo Basin

Project Launch: Addressing Climate and Water Driven Migration and Conflict Interlinkages to Build Community Resilience in the Congo Basin

UNU-INWEH and CRREBaC (Centre de recherche en ressources en eau du bassin du Congo), University of Kinshasa. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)- co-organised the Launching workshop of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) funded project’ ADDRESSING CLIMATE AND WATER DRIVEN MIGRATION AND CONFLICT INTERLINKAGES TO BUILD COMMUNITY RESILIENCE IN THE CONGO BASIN’ on May 21, 2019 at Kinshasa, DRC. The opening was graced by the Canadian Ambassador to DRC, His Excellency Mr Nicolas Simard. He was joined by the Special Adviser to the president of DRC in charge of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Minister of Education and Members of Parliament and Senators and UN agencies based in the region, along with close to 100 experts from the Congo basin and the Central African region. More details here.

Canadian Ambassador to DRC, His Excellency Mr Nicolas Simard (second from the right)

UNU-INWEH starts this new 2.5-year project funded by IDRC along University of Kinshasa (DRC). The Project is focusing on the issues of large-scale water and climate-driven migration of communities, including indigenous people in central Africa (Congo River Basin). The project is aiming to unpack multiple episodes of land and water conflicts and the resulting migration pathways over the past two decades due to several direct and indirect drivers and more often related to the degradation of natural resources or climate variability (also acknowledged by African Union). The project focuses on the most vulnerable communities – women and girls. The key objectives – and aims, amongst others, to

  • to enhance knowledge of hydro-climatic factors that influence migration and conflicts in the Congo Basin;
  • to improve climate adaptation and conflict resolution strategies in the Basin’ indigenous communities by identifying and assessing the most effective, and affordable gender-responsive community-based initiatives, and
  • to increase capacities of key stakeholders in the Congo Basin to create conditions for the adoption of gender-specific climate adaptation and conflict resolution strategies.

Dr Nidhi Nagabhatla (UNU-INWEH) and Dr Raphael M. Tshimanga CRREBaC, DRC- providing the overview of the project during the inception workshop

More about the project

The Congo Basin is critical to continental and local water security in the Central African region as it holds =40% of the continental water discharge. In recent years, its exposure to adverse effects of climate change, variability in rainfall and increase in frequency and intensity of floods, landslides, and soil erosion has severely impacted the water needs of communities and people (120 million inhabiting the basin), amplifying their vulnerabilities, as most rely on rain-fed crop production and livestock as means of livelihood and income generation. Women, accounting for >75 percent of people involved in agriculture, and produces >80% of food crops in the region are especially at risk. Water crisis and climate change impacts are causing excessive pressure on resources and exacerbating conflicts in the Basin.

One visible impact: is new and emerging trends in human migration, particularly those observed with the rural and pastoral communities. Conflicts link to competing and conflicting access, ownership, and customary rights of arable land, pasture, and water resources.

Interactive discussion on the project objectives, log frame, work plan – creating a culture of ‘Co-creation’

Empirical research to obtain up-to-date scientific and socioeconomic information is critical to address climate- and water-driven migration, conflict interlinkages, and their implications for the Basin’s population.

This project will lead a diverse range of research and capacity activities for key stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)- entailing primary field research, second data analysis, stakeholder discussions, communities’ activities (involving women, pastoralists, farmers, fishermen, indigenous peoples and migrants) and creation of learning content/ activities. The project aims to identify and assess gender-specific climate adaptation and conflict resolution strategies (such as water preservation, water use sharing, access to potable water, income generation, food security, and livelihoods). It is expected that the activities, outputs, and outcomes designed under this project will directly benefit stakeholders at all levels, with a specific focus on women and girls.

Glimpse from the Gender workshop organised with the project team on 24 May 2019 at DRC

Project workshop participants discussing on water-migration- conflicts aspects to outline a work plan for community resilience building

The project is expected to contribute to the implementation of the DRC National Strategic Plan for Development adopted in 2017, that calls for “Protection of the environment, access to water and sanitation, and adaptation to climate change for a better quality of life.”

This project is among the $4 million research funding of five new projects of IDRC that will support more significant social equity in climate action and, aims to drive social and gender transformative climate research.
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