Journal or chapter

Climate change and conflict in the Pacific: Prevention, management and enhancing community resilience

Toda Peace Institute Policy Brief (2019)

The Toda Peace Institute and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Otago) organised an international workshop, “Climate Change and Conflict in the Pacific: Prevention, Management and the Enhancement of Community Resilience” in Auckland, September 2018.

The key goal of the workshop was to set a framework for research that informs policy, promotes both vertical and horizontal dialogue between researchers, governments and social agencies and people in the region, and produces real-world initiatives to address one of the region’s most pressing issues—climate change.

Practitioners and policymakers in Oceania need more input from the academic realm so that they can develop well-informed policies, strategies, governance and adaptation measures. Climate change related policy and practice has to be conflict-sensitive. It has to encompass conflict prevention and resolution and, where possible, should contribute to peacebuilding and sustainable peace.

In order to grasp the connections between climate change, its social effects—such as forced migration—governance and conflict, research will have to place an emphasis on the local environmental, social, political and cultural context. This is in our view of major significance for the analysis of the climate change—conflict nexus.

Fine-grained ethnographic research which pays attention to the complexity and hybridity of local context can fill current gaps in knowledge and can provide locally specific recommendations for policy and practice. Research will not only address the conflict-prone effects of climate change, but also the conflict potential of climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and technologies.

This approach will also enable us to include dimensions of the climate change-conflict nexus which so far have been widely ignored or underestimated, such as cultural and spiritual aspects, indigenous knowledge and indigenous ways of climate change adaptation, of conflict transformation and of peacebuilding.


Climate change & coastal Māori communities