The Congo Basin holds approximately 40% of African water discharge and is critical to continental and local water security. Adverse effects of climate change, including changes in seasonal rainfall and increased frequency and intensity of floods, landslides, and soil erosion are amplifying the vulnerabilities of the Basin’s 120 million people, who are reliant on rain-fed agriculture. This is especially true for women, who account for more than 73% of the people who derive their livelihoods from agriculture and who produce more than 80% of the region’s food crops.
There is also speculation that climate change leads to or exacerbates conflicts within the Congo Basin due to increased pressure on resources. The usual human mobility trends have recently been replaced by new patterns of pastoralist migration from northern regions to access the basin’s arable land, pasture, and water resources, resulting in new kinds of conflicts.
These interlinked challenges threaten livelihoods, increase competition, intensify divisions and ethnic tension, reduce state capability and legitimacy, and trigger poorly designed climate action. Empirical research to obtain up-to-date hydro-climatic and socioeconomic information is needed to address climate and water-driven migration, conflict interlinkages, and their implications for the basin’s population.
This project will involve quantitative and qualitative research and training activities for key stakeholders in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The field research will target communities of pastoralists, farmers, fishers, Indigenous peoples and migrants. The project activities will guide the identification and assessment of 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. This is expected to directly benefit an estimated 600 people, of which approximately 60% are women.
The project is expected to contribute to the implementation of the DRC’s National Strategic Plan for Development that was adopted in 2017 and calls for “protection of the environment, access to water and sanitation, and adaptation to climate change for a better quality of life”.