Latest Research Brief Examines How Climate Impacts Place Kenyan Livelihoods Under Pressure

24 April 2024

Drawing on primary data collected in drought-affected areas of Kenya, our latest Research Brief, ‘Unpacking the Climate Migration Extremism Nexus Mapping the Coping Strategies of Kenyan Pastorialists’ sets out how climate impacts are placing pastoralist livelihoods under increasing pressure. Authored by Dr Erica Harper, Head of Research and Policy Studies, and Dr Yosuke Nagai, Executive Director of Accept International and Visiting Research Fellow, these challenges are manifesting in intra- and inter-community conflict, usually over boundaries or access to shared resources.

Disputes becoming more violent

Dr Harper noted, ‘Such disputes appear to have escalated sharply in the last decade, and have become significantly more violent. This is especially problematic in tribal areas, where norms of collective responsibility and retaliatory justice create cycles of violence that are difficult to interrupt’.

A further finding is that pastoralists increasingly regard migration or joining a violent extremist group as strategies for mitigating their exposure to unemployment and poverty. These pathways, however, are not clear cut and in many ways challenge dominant policy thinking.

Mitigation assistance misplaced

Dr Harper explained, ‘A vast majority of the most impacted pastoralists have a strong preference to remain on their land for as long as this is viable. For those that view migration positively, a rural area, either in their own or another country, is judged preferable to an urban location’.

In terms of addressing these phenomena, the research found that ‘climate-proofing’ pastoral livelihoods is the preferred course of action for affected individuals, and the one most likely to protect against armed groups capitalizing on community vulnerabilities. ‘The irony is that while adaptation and mitigation assistance is sorely needed in locales such as Garissa and Turkana, these are the places to which it is not flowing. Challenges around technology transfer and uptake need to be prioritized and overcome’, noted Dr Harper.

This research forms part of a broader project on Forgotten Threats in Climate-Food Insecurity, sponsored by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. Other themes addressed under the project include damage to food systems during armed conflict and the risks associated with large-scale land leasing and resource extraction contracts.


food in a graph shape News

New Paper Examines How Environmental Damage Caused by Conflict Effects the Global Food System

18 April 2024

Our latest Research Brief examines the myriad consequences that accompany damage rendered upon food systems during armed conflict.

Read more

Forest from below News

New Publication Explores National Uptake of the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

25 March 2024

Our new Research Brief The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment explores the national recognition of this human right.

Read more

Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

2-20 September 2024

Participants in this training course, made of two modules, will examine the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights and the environment, familiarizing themselves with the respective implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

Read more

Plastic pollution on an Italian shore Project

Unpacking the Human Right to a Healthy Environment: Definition, Implementation and Impact

Started in January 2022

This research aims at mainstreaming the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the protection it affords in the work of the UN Human Rights Council, its Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review, as well as in the work of the UN General Assembly and UN treaty bodies.

Read more

Crops view from the sky Project

The Right to Food in Europe

Started in December 2022

This research will provide legal expertise to a variety of stakeholders on the implementation of the right to food, and on the right to food as a legal basis for just transformation toward sustainable food systems in Europe. It will also identify lessons learned from the 2023 recognition of the right to food in the Constitution of the Canton of Geneva.  

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Unpacking the Climate Migration Extremism Nexus Mapping the Coping Strategies of Kenyan Pastorialists

published on April 2024

Erica Harper, Yosuke Nagai

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Unpacking the Burgeoning Challenge of Environmental Protection and the Right to Food in the Context of Armed Conflict

published on April 2024

Erica Harper, Junli Lim

Read more