icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Whatsapp Youtube
Afrique centrale : les défis sécuritaires du pastoralisme
Afrique centrale : les défis sécuritaires du pastoralisme
Climate Change and Human Rights
Climate Change and Human Rights
Report 215 / Africa

Afrique centrale : les défis sécuritaires du pastoralisme

Une régulation inclusive du pastoralisme, qui a apaisé les tensions dans certaines zones du Sahel, devrait être étendue à la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) et à la République centrafricaine (RCA) avant que les conflits liés à la progression du pastoralisme vers le sud ne prennent de l’ampleur.

  • Share
  • Save
  • Print
  • Download PDF Full Report

Synthèse

La pénétration du pastoralisme qui s’accentue depuis plusieurs années en Afrique centrale génère des conflits à la fois fréquents et ignorés dans un monde rural où l’empreinte de l’Etat est particulièrement faible. Ces conflits s’intensifient sous l’effet conjugué de plusieurs facteurs : l’insécurité croissante, le changement climatique qui pousse les pasteurs toujours plus au sud, l’éclatement des couloirs traditionnels de transhumance, notamment transfrontaliers, l’extension des cultures et l’augmenta­tion des cheptels qui entrainent une compétition accrue sur les ressources naturelles. Même si les défis sécuritaires du pastoralisme ne sont pas de même intensité dans les trois pays étudiés dans ce rapport (Tchad, République centrafricaine et République démocratique du Congo), ils ont deux dénominateurs communs : l’impéra­tif d’une prise en compte de ce problème par les pouvoirs publics et la nécessité d’une régulation de la transhumance qui inclue les différents acteurs concernés.

Bien que, dans les pays sahéliens comme le Tchad, le pastoralisme soit une source de richesse considérable et permette de créer des interdépendances économiques fortes entre agriculteurs et éleveurs, de nombreux conflits émergent dans le sillage des troupeaux. Ces conflits relèvent habituellement de la compétition pour l’eau et les pâturages. Mais ils prennent une tournure plus complexe dans la région concernée – Tchad, République centrafricaine (RCA) et Nord-Est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) – pour deux raisons : les écosystèmes pastoraux ne s’arrêtent pas aux frontières des Etats et la transhumance ouvre de nouveaux fronts pionniers en Afrique centrale.

Les transhumances transfrontalières, notamment celle des éleveurs tchadiens en RCA, s’accompagnent de violents affrontements entre transhumants et populations locales. Bien avant que n’éclate la crise centrafricaine à la fin de l’année 2012, ces phénomènes avaient déjà pris une ampleur alarmante : suite au pillage de leurs villages par les transhumants, plusieurs milliers de Centrafricains ont fui et trouvé refuge dans des camps de déplacés au Nord du pays. Ces violences ont été facilitées par la faiblesse de la coopération bilatérale entre le Tchad et la RCA sur la question de la transhumance, par la modification des itinéraires, par l’évolution du profil des pasteurs et des convoyeurs de bétail et leur militarisation croissante.

Plus au sud, la récente migration d’éleveurs peul mbororo, qui sont originaires de plusieurs pays d’Afrique centrale, en Province orientale, à la périphérie de la RDC, génère une cohabitation inhabituelle et des tensions avec les populations et les autorités congolaises. Oscillant entre la répression et l’apaisement suite au moratoire sur l’expulsion de ces éleveurs décidé en 2012, les autorités congolaises n’ont pas apporté à ce jour de réponse efficace aux problèmes posés par leur installation récente en Province orientale. Leur régularisation temporaire doit être envisagée et doit s’ac­compagner d’un vrai bénéfice économique pour la Province, notamment grâce au développement volontariste de l’élevage dans ces espaces très faiblement peuplés.

Contrairement aux pays sahéliens comme le Niger ou le Tchad, qui reçoivent le soutien de partenaires internationaux pour répondre aux défis du pastoralisme et prennent des mesures encore partielles mais réelles pour atténuer ce type de conflits, la RCA et le Nord-Est de la RDC ne régulent pas la transhumance et sont incapables de faire face aux violences. En outre, les gouvernements congolais et centrafricain sont absorbés par d’autres priorités sécuritaires. Mais si le pouvoir situé à des centaines ou des milliers de kilomètres peut se permettre de négliger les violences récurrentes liées au pastoralisme, les populations rurales qui en sont les principales victimes ne le peuvent pas. Ces problèmes s’inscrivent dans un temps long et peuvent dégénérer en conflits intercommunautaires très violents : ils constituent l’ar­rière-plan des affrontements entre Peul et milices anti-balaka en Centrafrique en ce moment.

Si les autorités tchadiennes, de concert avec des partenaires internationaux comme l’Agence française de développement (AFD) et l’Union européenne (UE), ont entrepris de sécuriser les parcours de transhumants, d’adapter la législation pastorale et de renforcer la filière élevage, la Centrafrique et la RDC doivent encore se doter d’un système de régulation de la transhumance et peuvent pour cela s’inspirer de certaines initiatives mises en œuvre au Tchad. Les deux pays devraient les combiner avec des mesures de cohabitation entre Peul et population locale en RDC et avec une charte sur la transhumance entre Tchadiens et Centrafricains qui permette une régulation participative de celle-ci en RCA.

Les mesures préconisées dans ce rapport peuvent être entreprises dès maintenant en RDC, où le gouvernement s’efforce de relancer l’agriculture. En revanche, en Centrafrique, elles ne pourront être mises en œuvre que lorsque le pays aura surmonté la crise actuelle et que les tensions entre N’Djaména et Bangui seront apaisées. Toutefois, sous l’égide de l’organisation régionale en charge de l’élevage, débattre de la question de la transhumance avant le début de la saison en octobre pourrait être une occasion de renouer et normaliser les relations entre les deux pays à partir d’un problème concret et dangereux.

A pastoralist walks with his goat in Laikipia County, Kenya, June 2022. Nicolas Delaunay / CRISIS GROUP

Climate Change and Human Rights

In a 28 July hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Crisis Group’s Future of Conflict Program Director Robert Blecher spoke about climate change and conflict.

Chairman McGovern, Chairman Smith, Members of the Commission, thank you for inviting me to speak about climate change and conflict. It’s an honour to be here today of all days. Just hours ago, the UN General Assembly for the first time recognised the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, by a remarkable 161-0 margin.

I direct the Future of Conflict Program at the International Crisis Group, which was established in 1995 as an independent organisation with a mission to save lives by preventing, mitigating and resolving deadly conflict. We do so via a three-part process: 1) on-the-ground research with all sides in dispute; 2) impartial analysis of conflict drivers to identify pragmatic policy options for addressing those drivers; and 3) advocacy with conflict actors and those who influence them to shape their understanding and alter their behaviour in accordance with our recommendations.[fn]Details of Crisis Group’s mission and method can be found here.Hide Footnote

Crisis Group started its climate and conflict project because it became obvious to us that we could not fully understand conflict today, much less what it will look like in the future, without understanding the role of climate.[fn]For an overview of Crisis Group’s climate work, see the Crisis Group data visual, “How Climate Change Fuels Deadly Conflict”.Hide Footnote  Our analysts, in certain parts of the world, increasingly identify climatic distress as a factor in the conflicts that they cover. Most scholars who study the topic agree: climate change can worsen conflict.[fn]Dell et al. (2014), Mach et al. (2019)Hide Footnote  At the very least, it tends to exacerbate conflict risks that already exist, making some tense and fragile situations even tenser and more fragile. Sometimes climate can light the match, transforming a tense and fragile situation into a violent one.

The actions of authorities matter: how equitable, competent, inclusive and accountable they are affects how climate resilient or fragile a region will be.

But there is considerable debate about when, how and why climate change worsens conflict. General observations don’t tell you very much about how climate will interact with people’s lived reality in any given context at any given moment. Conflict risks, according to social scientists, rise 10-20 per cent for every half-degree Celsius of warming.[fn]Burke et al. (2015).Hide Footnote  But in some places, small variations in temperature and precipitation will significantly increase deadly violence, whereas in other places, even large variations will not. This is because politics, history, economics, social relations and any number of other factors matter for peace and security. In particular the actions of authorities matter: how equitable, competent, inclusive and accountable they are affects how climate resilient or fragile a region will be.

Even though every last detail of the relationship between climate and conflict has yet to be nailed down, the fact is we already know a lot about it. Policymakers must not ignore it.

The most devastating climate security risks today and likely over the next two decades will be in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, and can be divided into three categories:

1) Cascading risks, which is to say, how climate change can undermine livelihoods and induce competition over land, water and other resources, driving conflict.

2) Risks relating to the security consequences of climate displacement

3) Risks relating to transboundary disputes, particularly water disputes

Let me give you a few examples.

First, cascading risks in Nigeria: Conflicts there between farmers and herders have claimed thousands of lives. Erratic precipitation and temperature have damaged crops and exacerbated food insecurity, inequality, displacement and criminality, which in turn have aggravated ethnic and political divides. Our analysis has shown that violent disputes are concentrated in Nigeria’s grasslands, along the agricultural fringe used by both farmers and herders.[fn]Crisis Group Africa Reports N°302, Ending Nigeria’s Herder-Farmer Crisis: The Livestock Reform Plan, 4 May 2021; and N°262, Stopping Nigeria’s Spiralling Farmer-Herder Violence, 26 July 2018. Also see Crisis Group’s data visual, “The Climate Factor in Nigeria’s Farmer-Herder Violence”, 21 April 2021. Eberle et al. (2020)Hide Footnote

Second, security consequences in South Sudan: Three consecutive years of historic flooding along the White Nile has caused widespread food and livelihood insecurity and, last year alone, displaced over half a million people. Many displaced have fled south to the Equatoria region, where heavily armed displaced herders have clashed with host communities over land rights, fuelling an existing insurgency and re-energising old grievances about the distribution of political power in the country.[fn]On the insurgency, see Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°169, South Sudan’s Other War: Resolving the Insurgency in Equatoria, 25 February 2021.Hide Footnote

Most climate displacement is ... internal.

Third, transboundary issues in the Horn of Africa: Stalled negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over the filling and operating rules for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam have the potential to escalate into conflict. Already, the dispute is helping drive interstate proxy conflict in the region. In the longer term, Cairo sees the risk of reduced water flows once the dam is complete in existential terms. Ethiopia for its part asserts its right to use Nile waters to improve its economy. With scientists expecting more erratic precipitation in the years ahead, this zero-sum approach means that the risk of conflict hangs over this dispute, even if it remains remote for now.[fn]See Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°173, Containing the Volatile Sudan-Ethiopia Border Dispute, 24 June 2021; Crisis Group Statement, “Nile Dam Talks: A Short Window to Embrace Compromise”, 17 June 2020; Crisis Group Statement, “Nile Dam Talks: Unlocking a Dangerous Stalemate”; Crisis Group Commentary, “Calming the Choppy Nile Dam Talks”, 23 October 2019; and Crisis Group Africa Report N°271, Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute, 20 March 2019.Hide Footnote

The security consequences of the climate change can be severe, even beyond the immediate human suffering. The failure to manage climatic distress can discredit central states and play to the advantage of non-state actors, such as jihadist and criminal groups. In Iraq, ISIS took advantage of the country’s decimated agriculture in its recruiting drives. In Mexico, with state services failing, cartels are dispensing humanitarian aid packages in areas ravaged by natural disasters to bolster recruitment and win hearts and minds. In Somalia, Al-Shabaab reportedly has seized control of watering points. Four failed rainy seasons, with a fifth likely coming later this year, has left the population at the mercy of whomever controls the dwindling water supply – though the group itself seems concerned about its own vulnerability to drought.

When it comes to human rights, climate-related violence often exacerbates a long list of abuses and violations – from those that threaten the right to life and other civil and political rights to those that interfere with socio-economic rights such as those to adequate food, water, housing, work and clothing. The burden of these harms is not spread equally. Women, as well as children, struggle to get access to basic services and protect themselves from exploitation, sexual and otherwise. Women specifically are often targeted in real and symbolic struggles between jihadists and state authorities. More generally, the Global South suffers disproportionately from climate change, and even more disproportionately from climate-related violence.

Misidentifying the causes of conflict muddies the search for solutions.

It is as vital to know where climate change is a factor in conflict as where it is not – even if, or rather precisely because, conflict drivers are complex and climate change never acts alone. Misidentifying the causes of conflict muddies the search for solutions. Just as disregarding climate change deprives policymakers of relevant knowledge, the improper attribution of deadly violence to climate change can be used to shirk responsibility for poor governance or abusive rule. In this sense, the stakes of climate science are high, and we still have far too little of it.

There is a way forward. Recent improvements in forecasting, in combination with political analysis, offer the possibility that governments, international agencies and humanitarian aid groups might someday be able to intervene before violence erupts or escalates. Having a reasonable sense of where and when droughts will strike, crops will grow, rivers will overrun their banks and storms will hit have already enabled humanitarian groups to pre-position supplies, provide cash, and deploy technical support and machinery. The right kind of system could do something similar for conflict, showing where to focus preemptive dialogue and target resilience efforts.

Of course, given the existential challenge posed by the climate crisis, focusing on this type of mitigation measure may seem woefully insufficient. In a sense that is right: the world is already mired a climate crisis whose implications far outstrip our management ability. We desperately need policymakers to protect the planet at the necessary scale. But that does not absolve us of the duty to consider what we can do to save lives and protect human rights today. Developing our capacity for early intervention in climate-related violence offers one way to do so, even as we keep pushing for change at the highest and deepest levels.

Thank you. I look forward to your questions.