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Addressing climate and water driven migration in the Congo Basin

  • Addressing climate and water driven migration in the Congo Basin

About the entity

United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health: The UN Think Tank on Water. Targeted research. Capacity development. Public outreach.

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 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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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