n African Security Review - The climate security divide : bridging human and national security in Africa : feature

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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National security is traditionally considered to have two dimensions : national defence against external aggressors and internal security against domestic enemies. States therefore pursue weapons and alliances to attain security with military procurement being an integral part of the pursuit of national security. Climate change has modified this state of affairs because it poses unique challenges to the regional security of Africa, and to general security on a global scale : it is a non-temporal threat, with no clearly defined parameters, and cannot be tackled by military means. In addition, it threatens not only the security of a state but the security of communities or entire portions of a state's population. It is therefore a risk to both national and human security. The advent of nuclear weapons has dramatically changed international relations in the 20th century and modified security relations amongst nations. Now climate change processes are redefining security in the 21st century. The security implications for Africa are the most dramatic and urgent.

This paper explores the climate divide produced by climate change processes, particularly with regard to consequences of and effects on national and human security. To complement this analysis, two areas of security are examined, the first being the relationship between climate change and conflict and the second the security stressors in Africa that compound climate change and imperil security. In conclusion, the climate change scenario in Africa is linked to the pursuit of energy, conservation of forests and resolution of conflicts. The author also situates the African challenges in the multilateral processes of climate change.

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