Library Dissertation Showcase

The conflict-food security nexus impacts of Sudan and South Sudan’s recent violent history and future implications for sub-Saharan Africa

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has experienced a long-term increasing trend in civil war frequency across the sub-continent since the mid-twentieth century. One SSA region that has been subject to frequent, complex, and long-lasting conflicts and civil wars is modern-day Sudan and South Sudan. As the majority of modern-day Sudan and South Sudan rely on agricultural production for their economic income and wellbeing, understanding how historical conflict impacted agricultural production is fundamental to understand possible future scenarios. This study investigated a possible historical conflict-food security nexus across modern-day Sudan and South Sudan from 1997 to 2015 through understanding how fluctuating conflict frequency, type, and spatiality impacted sorghum and millet production elements under a fluctuating climatic context. This was used to understand relationships between the physical environment and the conflicting human environment, and also how SSA’s regional future food security could possibly be impacted by conflict under future anthropogenic climate change. Through time-series, spatial, and statistical analyses, the present study found evidence for a historical conflict-food security nexus across the study area. During less intense conflict periods, climatic fluctuations had a greater impact on millet and sorghum crops, whereas during more conflict intense periods, conflict characteristics had a greater impact. Although conflict event frequency and spatiality contributed towards this nexus, the type of conflict event had a greater impact. During more intense conflict episodes, there was a large increase in civilian-targeted attacks, which had a significant impact on agriculture, highlighting how agricultural workforce impacts had greater influences on agriculture than direct agricultural land shocks. This present study also found minimal evidence for a climate-conflict nexus, thus highlighting how politically influenced conflicts are not significantly triggered by physical factors. Therefore, this study suggested that regional SSA food security could become vulnerable to both climate change and conflict uprisings synchronously or independently in the future. Due to this, policy decisions and strategies should be implemented with urgency to stop SSA entering a future worsening food security crisis due to both physical and human influences.

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