Learning Event on Climate, Water, Peace and Security

The Africa Centre for Sustainable and Inclusive Development (Africa CSID) actively participated in a significant learning event centred on promoting integrated, inclusive, and informed strategies to address water-related peace and security risks in Turkana County. Organized by International Alert and Wetlands International, the event aimed to consolidate best practices from their Water, Peace and Security nexus work both at the local level in Turkana County and the national level. Diverse stakeholders engaged in reflective discussions, aiming to identify valuable lessons, emerging themes, and best practices for the effective implementation of context-appropriate, integrated, and inclusive approaches to mitigate water, peace, and security risks in Turkana and beyond.

Among the expert panellists, Africa CSID’s Executive Director, Salome Owuonda, contributed her expertise as a Climate and Gender Expert. Her presentation primarily focused on the intricate interplay between climate, water, security, and gender in Kenya, particularly within Turkana County. The emphasis was on adopting an intersectionality approach to comprehend the varying impact of climate on water and how it affects different gender groups, thereby highlighting the necessity of incorporating gender-responsive peacebuilding processes and policies. Emphasizing the livelihood approach as a pivotal catalyst for Climate Security, she found inspiration in the words of former United States Senator Pat Roberts, who once asserted, “Show me a nation that cannot feed itself, and I’ll show you a nation in chaos.” She passionately declared, “Show me a community that cannot feed itself, and I’ll show you a community in chaos.” Salome reminded stakeholders that the climate, water, peace, and gender nexus is a nonlinear and complex phenomenon.

This learning event represented one of several activities conducted under the Water, Peace, and Security (WPS) partnership. The WPS partnership is a collaborative effort between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consortium of six partners, including IHE Delft (lead partner), World Resources Institute (WRI), Hague Center for Strategic Studies, Deltares, Wetlands International, and International Alert. The overarching objective of WPS is to transform the detrimental cycle of water-related conflicts into a virtuous cycle of water cooperation and peace.



3 thoughts on “Learning Event on Climate, Water, Peace and Security”

  1. Queenter July 24, 2023

    Great insight. Water and food security are inter related. The solution in areas such as turkana might be exploring underground water for irrigation purposes.
    I wonder if these options have been tried and if not why.

    • Thank you, Queenter. Indeed, exploring the aquifer presents a promising solution to alleviate the community’s heavy reliance on rainfed agriculture. Studies have indicated that the Turkana aquifer has the potential to supply the entire country with water for an extended period. However, a significant challenge lies in the high salinity levels of the groundwater, which adversely affects its quality. In the past, the government had to abandon a water project in Turkana due to the need for desalination, which proved to be expensive, rendering the project economically unviable in their assessment. Nevertheless, ongoing efforts to address the water challenge. Several crop irrigation activities, such as the Katilu Irrigation Scheme, are currently underway in the county. Most of these schemes predominantly depend on rivers, leading to conflicts with the communities residing downstream.

      For the pastoralist communities in Turkana, another pressing concern is the access to adequate pasture for their livestock. One potential solution worth exploring is the possibility of cultivating pasture through irrigation. By utilizing water from the aquifer, it may be feasible to establish irrigated pastures, which could significantly improve the livelihoods of the Turkana pastoralists and their herds.

      • Queenter August 7, 2023

        This is very informative. I believe irrigation will be the solution.

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