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May 14th, 2020

Drought, resilience, and support for violence: Household survey evidence from DR Congo

Published by Journal of Conflict Resolution,

This study (PDF) in the Journal of Conflict Resolution examined the variation in the support for violence related to reported exposure to drought and resilience metrics, using household survey data from two conflict-affected regions in DR Congo. The authors expected that (1) climate shocks adversely affect agricultural production, (2) resulting shocks to agricultural livelihoods in turn lower the opportunity costs of violence, (3) how much these shocks actually translate into lower opportunity costs for violence is conditioned by the level of resilience determining the capacity to bounce back, and (4) all else being equal low opportunity costs result in a higher likelihood that an affected individual would support the use of violence and participate in conflict in a high-risk context. Findings suggest that more resilient households are less likely to support political violence and thus potentially participate in violence in this context. The experience of a drought is associated with support for political violence for the least resilient individuals. In North Kivu, internally displaced and host households are in a particularly dire situation and farming activities are often hampered by conflict. With prolonged conflict, economic considerations and questions of survival tend to become more important than political preferences. This may suggest that the link between agricultural production shocks, resilience, and propensity to engage in political violence could be particularly pronounced in areas of protracted crises in general. Agriculture remains the main source of food and income for the majority of those caught up in protracted crises; rapidly restoring local food production and investing in building and strengthening resilience are critical to tackling food insecurity. Protecting and restoring sustainable livelihoods is essential to the integrity of societies that depend on farming, livestock, fishing, forests, and other natural resources. The findings are relevant to assessing the security implications of climate change and are important for development and humanitaria policy makes supporting more resilient individuals and communities.

Curated from journals.sagepub.com