Rather than acting as direct drivers of conflict, climate change and variability are seen as intermediary sources of risk, or ‘threat multipliers’. This is because they interact with existing socioeconomic and environmental conditions to increase livelihood insecurity and the probability of conflict in certain situations. In this light, this report explores the complex and tangled links between climate variability and change and the proliferation of armed networks operating in northern Niger.
The report examines the factors influencing livelihood choices among 29 smugglers of people, arms, drugs and gold, working across northern Niger. It focuses on these smugglers because they are armed and operate in coordinated networks. To understand how factors may be changing over time, the report also includes interviews with smugglers’ fathers. The report analyses whether extreme weather events and climate variability influence livelihood choices, and pays attention to how changes in the political and economic context impinge on their life trajectories.
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