- 86% of people in nine low- and middle-income countries say climate change poses a serious issue for their communities
- 60% thought climate change was worsening conflict in their communities already, especially through water shortages, corruption, and displacement
- 57% completely agreed that climate change increased the risk of hunger/food insecurity
- 99% of respondents agreed that climate change leads to displacement either to or from their community.
28 November 2023 – A report released today ahead of COP28 by international aid agency World Vision reveals the opinions of people living in affected regions on the links between climate change, conflict, hunger, and displacement.
New data from communities in nine low- and middle-income countries shows that 86% of people in those communities are already experiencing a wide variety of climate hazards, and more than 60% believe that climate change is specifically worsening conflict in their communities.
Mary Njeri, World Vision’s Global Hunger Response Director said: “This research highlights the cost of decades of inaction on the part of the international community. It is urgent that leaders push for real action at this month’s COP; 2023 is on track to be the warmest year on record and climate change is visibly worsening violent conflict and hunger, forcing increasingly vulnerable people to move to new areas in search of grazing land, food, and safety.”
This report found that 80% of community members felt that climate change worsened their economic situation, and almost 60% completely agreed that climate was increasing the risk of hunger. The effects of climate change put people, and especially farmers and herders, in incredibly vulnerable positions that aggravate social tensions in their communities as they try to find new ways to make ends meet for their families. Community members almost unanimously agreed that climate change was leading to displacement either to or from their communities, and over a third of the people surveyed (35%) said they had experienced some form of conflict in the past 12 months. Many of those conflicts were due to either land or water disputes (27% and 20% respectively).
“The findings of this report are an alarming illumination of problems that will only increase if we do not take action to promote God’s earth,” Njeri continues. “As people are displaced or conflicts are inflamed as communities grapple with the effects of climate change, people often resort to negative coping mechanisms that only further degrade the environment. Almost a third of people said climate change effects had led to an increase in deforestation in their communities, as decreasing crop yields spurred people to search for more land to grow food, or turn to mining to support their families.”
“We urgently need wealthier countries to fulfil the promises they made for funding to help communities adapt to climate change in ways that won’t further degrade the environment or aggravate conflicts. Every country has a responsibility to ensure they are doing their part to limit emissions and keep temperatures below 1.5˚C if possible. We’re already over 1.1˚C, but we owe it to our children to protect the planet. If we do not, the world won’t just be warmer, but bloodier and hungrier too.”
Report is available to download here
Mary Njeri will be at COP28 from 30 November – 7 December and is available as a spokesperson for the conference. To arrange an interview, please contact Charlotte Masiello-Riome on WhatsApp at +971585433250.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian and development organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision and its partners are working in communities to improve families’ economic prospects, strengthen violence prevention and child protection services, and improve education systems.
World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.wvi.org/emergencies/hunger-crisis or follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @WorldVision
About the report
The research used field data from a survey of 2,716 people in nine countries where World Vision works to show that climate-linked conflict, displacement, and food insecurity are already happening, and in a wider range of contexts than commonly thought. Offices were selected for inclusion based on capacity, relevant exposure to climate, conflict, and hunger, and geographic spread. Each office identified a specific region within their country (or region, in the case of the Dry Corridor). Findings should thus not be generalised to the countries but only to the areas of interest, which were as follows: Centre Est in Burkina Faso, Haut Katanga and Lualaba in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Anbar in Iraq, Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and Puttalam in Sri Lanka. Findings from a range of urban, rural, and indigenous communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are grouped as the Dry Corridor. Initial scoping and development of the research methodology took place in June and July 2023, ahead of field data collection in August and September 2023.
Key stats referenced:
- 86% of respondents thought climate change poses a serious issue for their communities and 83% thought climate change poses a serious risk to them and their families.
- The most common concerns were around drought (57%), rainfall pattern changes (48%) and heatwaves 42%.
- 60% thought climate change was worsening conflict in their communities.
- When asked about the cause of environmental and climate-related conflict in their community, 38% said it was due to water shortages. Corruption (20%) and displacement (17%) were the next most common answers.
- Respondents agreed almost universally (99%) that climate change leads to displacement either from or to their community.
- 82% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘climate change worsens my economic situation’.
- When asked how they were negatively affected by climate change, 72% of respondents mentioned livelihood-related impacts including ‘loss of livelihoods’, ‘reduced pastureland’, ‘crop failure’ and ‘difficulty accessing water/food’.
- Over half (51%) of survey respondents reported that reduced access to food and water was a key impact of climate hazards, while 57% completely agreed that climate change increased the risk of hunger/food insecurity.
 Centre-Est Burkina Faso, Haut Katanga and Lualaba in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Anbar in Iraq, Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and Puttalam in Sri Lanka. Findings from a range of urban, rural, and indigenous communities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua are grouped as the Dry Corridor.
 The historical province of Katanga was divided into four new provinces in 2015; two of which (Lualaba and Haut Katanga) were included in the research. However sometimes in the report, we refer to ‘Grand Katanga’ for ease of reference.
 either somewhat agreed (28%) or completely agreed (54%)