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Insecurity: AUN conference to explore root causes, conflict triggers, proffer solutions

Insecurity in 2021: An Appraisal

The Centre for Conflict Analysis, Early Warning and Peacebuilding at the American University of Nigeria (AUN) will hold an international conference on the theme, ‘Environmental Change and Insecurity in the Sahel: The Roles of Civil Society and Local Non-Governmental Organisations in Building Resilient Communities.’ The conference will take place in February 2022.

A statement signed and released by Daniel Okereke, executive director, Communications, AUN, said that the conference, given the current constraints of the global pandemic, will be “hybrid” — participants can attend both in person and via the Internet.

According to the release, “There is a strong body of research across various cases that shows linkages between environmental scarcity (caused by climate change and environmental degradation, dwindling resources, uncontrolled population growth, and social strain) and violent conflicts.”

It further explained that “AUN’s Centre for Conflict Analysis, Early Warning and Peacebuilding is a research-driven think-tank committed to monitoring, investigating, analysing and reporting conflict trends, manifestations, and mitigation.”

On the need for the conference, it said: “Against the background of persistent resource disputes and other environmentally-driven conflicts, which have impacted socio-economic development in the region, the AUN Centre seeks to explore the root causes and triggers of these conflicts, and to proffer lasting solutions to them.

“The Conference will bring together local and international scholars, policymakers and practitioners to share their work and expertise on the nexus of environmental change and violent conflicts particularly in the West African Sahel.”

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The Sahel region has witnessed a steep rise in the scale and sophistication of violence by terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. The proliferation of non-state armed groups, including jihadists and bandits in the region have been linked to environmental degradation, rising poverty and weak statehood.

“This hybrid conference seeks a nuanced understanding of the nexus of climate change and conflict in the Sahel, and the mitigating roles of local actors in the region. It explores how civil society, faith based and non-governmental organisations, (can) contribute to building resilient communities in the face of environmental scarcity, extreme poverty, population growth, extremist violence and weakening state institutions,” it further said.

The conference particularly invites papers that explore the roles of civil society and NGOs in building resilient communities to help mitigate the social impacts of environmental scarcity. Invited topics include: local, community-led approaches to prevent or address the spread of violent conflict, extremism, and hate; women and youth in local environmental mitigation, peacebuilding, and resilient community efforts; lessons learned from local approaches to support sustainable livelihoods and reduce vulnerability to environmental changes and resource scarcity; and lessons from community-resilient COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives.

According to the statement, “The deadline for submission of abstracts is January 21, 2022. Accepted conference papers will be published in an edited journal. The link below can be used to access more information about the Conference and the Centre: https://www.aun.edu.ng/index.php/ccewp.”