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2021 Climate Change & Terrorism Series: Worsening climate conditions in Somalia present Al-Shabaab with opportunities to exploit local grievances and undermine state opponents

A girl and her brother stand on a donkey cart next to their tent at a displacement camp for people affected by intense flooding in Beledweyne, Somalia, on 14 December 2019. (Luis Tato/AFP via Getty Images)

This article is the fifth in the 2021 Climate Change & Terrorism series, which explores the intersection of climate-related trends and non-state armed group (NSAG) activity across the globe.

Drought is currently affecting several regions in Somalia, particularly in Bari, Gedo, Jubbada Dhexe, Jubbada Hoose, Mudug, Nuugal, Sool, and Toghdheer, with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) describing conditions as “severe” in a joint report by the Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) project and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), released in March 2021. This severe shortage of water has adversely affected local populations' domestic water use and has had a negative impact on herders and pastoralists, who rely on water for livestock and agricultural production, with the latter being Somalia's second largest economic sector and its main source of export earnings. A report by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), published in July 2018, estimated that approximately 55% of the population is involved in nomadic pastoralism while 80% is engaged in livestock raising of some kind as a means of daily subsistence and economic earnings, underscoring local reliance on water as a critical resource. During the growing season, flooding has also contributed to food insecurity affecting local communities and livestock, as well as resulting in a loss of income.

Worsening climate conditions not only affect domestic supplies and agricultural production, but also present opportunities for non-state armed groups (NSAGs) operating in Somalia. Janes

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