The Sahel region currently faces various social, political, security, and environmental issues. However, the scientific and media discourse tends to oversimplify the underlying causes of these issues. While some authors attribute them to the heavy impact of climate change-induced scarcity, others focus on political factors such as bad governance. This article aims to merge the perspectives of Environmental Security and Political Ecology into one framework to provide a more holistic explanation of the problems in the Sahel. It shows how local political inequalities, marginalization, economic problems, military coups, corruption, and climate change mutually intersect in a mechanism that creates conflicts and insecurity. This is exacerbated by the geographical character of the Sahel states and their type of governance, which provides an operational space for many armed groups. By understanding the intersection of these conditions, the article contributes to the empirical understanding of the mechanism of conflicts in the Sahel and better conceptualizes the relationship between scarcity, climate change, and conflict.
Climate change, Sahel, conflicts, governance, marginalization
Martin Schmiedl is lecturer at Mendel University in Brno and a PhD student at the Department of Politics at the University of Hradec Králové, where he also serves as the Executive Editor of Modern Africa: Politics, History and Society. He focusses on sub-Saharan Africa, particularly on its conflicts. Since 2022, he also participates in a research project on the identity of Africans and Afro-Czechs in the Czech Republic.