Rethinking the Sahel: Climate, Social Capital and Knowledge 

The outlook for climatic changes in the African Sahel is bleak: spectacular temperature increases and further rainfall variability will continue to challenge the livelihoods of millions of inhabitants -sedentary and nomadic- that live in this vast region. These environmental impacts are usually understood as complicating long-standing problems of weak statehood, economic marginalization and physical insecurity and risk rendering the Sahel more prone to jihadist violence and various forms of migration. Yet this pessimistic - some would say alarmist - perspective on the Sahel as a zone of crisis is not the only possible one.

In this event co-organized by Columbia University and the University of Oxford, a panel entirely drawn from the Sahel region will explore dynamic responses by various population groups to environmental change and focus on the social capital and economic opportunities

that this part of Africa harbours. Panelists will discuss historical perceptions of environmental degradation and sustainability and draw attention to both long-established indigenous forms of knowledge as well as innovative new approaches to land use, reforestation and resource management.

This event is part of ODID's Climate Change and the Challenges of Development Series. It is also the second in a new webinar series through which the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia-SIPA seeks to foreground the heterogeneity of perspectives found around the continent on what climate means in different African contexts and how more than 1 billion Africans are already living with extraordinary climatological variability and constraints on the use of natural resources.

Confirmed participants are

Dr Cheikh Mbow, University of Pretoria

Nora Berrahmouni, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation

Ousseyne Kalilou, Chair of the Forest Interest Group of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association

Moderator: Dr Harry Verhoeven, Columbia University

22 Nov
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ODID Special Lectures & Seminars
Online via Zoom