Climate change has been predicted to increase conflict by authors and organizations including Burke, Miguel, Satyanath, Dykema, and Lobell (2009), Hsiang, Meng, and Cane (2011), and the United Nations Environmental Program [UNEP] (2011), particularly in communities where poverty thrives, governance is weak, and insecurity is endemic. This link has gotten a lot of attention, as evidenced by comments from world leaders, media coverage, and book titles like Global Warring and Climate Conflict. The issue has not gone unnoticed by the United Nations, which has mentioned it in a number of international fora, including the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the European Security Strategy, and the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change. Climate change is said to have had and will continue to have an impact.

to have an effect on weather-related hazards, such as an increase in risk associated with severe occurrences caused by changes in rainfall or temperature. Drought and/or flooding are the most likely outcomes.

This issue has prompted a number of research projects over the last several decades, with varying degrees of success. Early findings include the fact that climate change appears to have fueled conflict and harmed the security of many civilizations. Others have revealed that, while climate change can play a role in inciting conflict, such conclusions must be drawn with caution because conflicts are frequently the result of a complex web of interactions in which socioeconomic and political factors frequently outweigh environmental factors (Benjaminsen, Alinon, Bugaug, & Buseth, 2012).

Regardless of these

To improve one’s knowledge of the Climate-Water Security-Nexus and understand the precise impacts that climate change will have on human security and people’s livelihoods, more in-depth research using various methods will be required. The findings of such research will serve as a critical prescription for policymakers at the local, national, and international levels to implement policies that respond to climate change while also addressing conflict when necessary.

The fourth and fifth assessment reports (AR4 and AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) both agree on the unambiguous severe warming of the earth’s atmosphere. These conclusions were reached after observing rising global air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level (IPCC, 2007, 2014). According According to the study, these climatic changes are primarily the result of anthropogenic causes – human production and consumption habits, which, in the end, release gaseous chemicals that are harmful to biotic life. According to the AR5, “it is very likely that more than half of the observed rise in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was driven by human increases in GHG concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings combined” (IPCC, 2014, p. 48). Similarly, according to a 2007 study by a body of independent experts, massive human influence on the planet has increased the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) since the 1750s (IPCC, 2007). Hulme (2016) stated recently

He did not mince words in his book, Should Rich Nations Help the Poor? “current economic development is dependent on methods that increase CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere,” says the statement (IPCC, p. 93). This shift, he emphasized, is defined by “energy-intensive industry, transportation, and agriculture; deforestation; cattle raising; and an energy-saving lifestyle and consumption pattern.” Indeed, it is claimed that this increase in GHG concentrations “far exceeds pre-industrial levels estimated from ice cores spanning many thousands of years” (IPCC, p. 32 & 37).

The fourth and fifth assessments of the IPCC both predict rising global mean surface temperature. For example, the AR4 forecasts that if CO2 emissions continue at their current rate, global temperatures will rise by 2 to 6 degrees Celsius over the next century. The AR5 predicts that by the end of the twenty-first century (2081-2100), global mean temperature will have risen by between 0.3°C and 1.7°C. The obvious consequences of this alleged rise in global temperature include, but are not limited to, drought, desertification, floods, illnesses, and sea level rise. Brown and Crawford (2009); Hulme (2016); IPCC (2014, 2007) According to Brown and Crawford, as well as Salehyan (2008), such climate change-induced difficulties would exacerbate already-existing environmental issues, with serious environmental consequences for people and wildlife. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (2011) and Werz and Conley (2012), climate change may cause mass migrations out of severely affected areas and (violent) conflicts because it jeopardizes some basic human needs and reduces governments’ ability to respond.

to provide human welfare.

The security implications of climate change were among the discussions and controversies sparked by the IPCC’s release of the AR4. Though contentious, advances in this field of study have been made, including those by Bernauer, Böhmelt, and Koubi (2012), Gleditsch (2012), and Scheffran, Brzoska, Kominek, Link, and Schilling (2013). (2013). (2012). While one group of quantitative researchers discovered some empirical evidence indicating a link between climate change and violent conflict, others discovered no evidence or only weak evidence (Gleditsch, Nords, & Salehyan, 2007; Maxwell & Reuveny, 2000). Several of these studies rely heavily on either linear or indirect models to draw assumptions or reach conclusions indicating climate change as a direct or indirect cause of conflict (Forsyth & Schomerus, 2013).

In In the case of the former, as advocated by Malthusian and/or Neo-Malthusian authors, environmental change is said to directly lead to conflict. Evidence for this link has emerged from the widely held belief that certain catastrophic environmental disasters have long-term socio-ecological consequences. Davis (2001), for example, established a link between El Nino occurrences and famines that killed millions of people across the tropics in the late nineteenth century, concluding that the event caused the famine as a result of drought. Diamond (2005) confirmed this by stating that there have been numerous occurrences of catastrophic societal upheaval and linking them to some environmental change, specifically climate change, as a cause of many. In contrast, the indirect model contends that, while Climate change is linked to conflict, social practices or institutions, as well as social vulnerability (or adaptive capacity), which act as moderators (Forsyth & Schomerus, 2013). As a result, the model hypothesizes that climate change, in combination with existing insufficient institutions presiding over already vulnerable natural resources, and consumers’ inability to adapt adequately, act as a “threat multiplier” (Brown & Crawford, 2009; Scheffran, 2011). According to Blackwell (2010), climate change is the “underlying relationship” between poverty and conflict among pastoralists in the Greater Horn of Africa. Similarly, Temestgen (2010) discovered that, when combined with other social, political, and economic factors, environmental degradation’significantly increases’ the likelihood of conflict in the Horn of Africa. As a result, it is not surprising that these studies reach the conclusion that reducing

The potential physical effects of climate change are insufficient; instead, increasing local adaptive capacity and strengthening institutional regulations will aid in avoiding future conflicts.

However, as Barnett and Adger have always maintained, the relationship between climate change and conflict has a direct or indirect impact on any aspect of human security (Kloos, Gebert, & Rosenfeld, 2013). (2007). Scientists believe that the effects of climate change are concerning because they have caused large-scale social disruptions for many years. Burke et al. (2009), Hsiang et al. (2011), Klare (2001), and UNEP (2011) discovered some connections between global climate and climate change factors such as higher temperatures and/or less rainfall and conflict. As a result, climate change (any change in climate) Changes in the hydrological cycle and the amount, quality, and variability of water resources (whether caused by natural variability or human activity) are expected to have an impact on the security of several countries over time (National Intelligence Council, 2008). On the one hand, Gehrig and Rogers (2009) argue that the inability of communities to use freshwater resources for any purpose is the most obvious root cause of water-related conflict or violence. Again, major hydrological phenomena such as droughts and floods have been blamed for violent conflicts all over the world (Carius, Dabelko, & Wolf, 2004; Swatuk & Wirkus, 2009; Swedish Water House, 2005; Thomasson, 2006; Turton, 2015; Ravenborg, 2004). According to these authors, the majority of these water wars are between nations, with only a few occurring between individuals. Intra-state conflict is frequently regarded as low-intensity domestic conflict.


The rivers White Volta (which contributes an average of 20% of the inflow to Volta Lake on an annual basis) and Red Volta, as well as their tributaries such as Atankwidi (270 km2), Anayere (200 km2), Yarig-tanga, Abuokulaga, Tamne, and Yalebele, primarily drain the Upper East Region of Ghana (Namara, Horowitz, Nyamadi, & Barry, 2011). Aside from these rivers, most rural settlements and urban areas use groundwater extracted from boreholes or protected wells to supplement urban water supply. As a result, the region is one of the least well-drained and driest (hydro-climatic challenged zone) in Ghana. The UER, according to Antwi-Agyei, Dougill, and Stringer (2013) and Owusu and Weylen (2009), falls within the

Due to the region’s high variability in rainfall and temperature, Sudan Savannah has experienced frequent droughts, and the Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO] (2007) indexing suggests that the area’s aridity index of 0.44 is on the high side. According to available data, the region has the highest frequency of drought occurrences (37%), and Bawku and its environs are considered the driest part of the country (Dovie, 2010).

As a result, the region, particularly the Bawku Area, has seen a fall in groundwater levels where hundreds of boreholes have been sunk since the mid-1970s to provide drinkable water to communities (Frenken, 2005). In the event of climate change, it is projected that groundwater levels will drop by 5

to 22 percent by 2020, and 30 to 40% by 2050. GSS (Ghana Statistical Service), 2012. Rainfall in this biological zone is expected to decrease in the future, according to Minia (2008) and Stanturf et al (2011). Minia, for example, predicts -1.1 percent rainfall losses in 2020, -6.7 percent in 2050, and -12.8 percent in 2080. These will have an effect on the availability of water for domestic and agricultural purposes, forcing communities to adapt in any way they can.

Aside from the aforementioned hydro-climatic stressors (increased climate unpredictability and extreme events), the Bawku Area is also regarded as one of the country’s hotspots of violent conflict (Kendie et al., 2014; Osei-Kufuor, et al., 2016). In particular, Osei-Kufuor et al reported in their Conflict, peace, and development: A spatio-thematic analysis of violent conflicts in Northern Ghana between 2007 and 2013 that, in terms of frequency of conflict, Bawku had recorded up to 25 violent conflicts between 2007 and 2012, far more than any of the hotspots in northern Ghana’s eastern corridors. Again, the region is described as “the most notable hotspots in northern Ghana, accounting for around 30 conflicts,” though the total in Bawku is said to be “disproportionately larger” (Osei-Kufuor et al. 2016). For decades, the Kusaasi and Mamprusi ethnic groups have been fighting each other in Bawku. The conflict has some political underpinnings as well (Kendie, 2010; Kendie et al, 2014; Noagah, 2013). Aside from that, Despite the conflict’s acknowledged ethnic-political basis, the involvement of natural resources in fomenting such conflicts is difficult to rule out. As a result, these two opposing players vie for control of the area’s resources. According to Kendie et al., dominance of access to scarce resources such as water by one group or community to the exclusion of others can lead to violent conflicts among resource users. It will thus be fascinating to investigate how, when, and under what conditions climate-related stress phenomena and the reactions of residents to them will cause conflict in the area.


The study’s main goal was to investigate the relationship between climate change, water conflict, and human security (“Climate-Water-Security Nexus”) in Ghana’s Bawku Area. The specific goals were to:

1. Look into the water sources used by the residents of the study area.

2. Investigate residents’ adaptive and/or mitigation mechanisms in the face of hydro-climatic events.

3. Assess how water and climate-related hazards aggravate or mitigate conflict.

4. Investigate the social, economic, and political factors that aggravate or mitigate conflict.


This research is guided by the following questions:

1. What water sources do residents in the study area use?

2. What adaptive and/or mitigation mechanisms do residents use in the event of a hydro-climatic disaster?

3. How do water and climate-related hazards aggravate or alleviate conflict?

4. How do social, economic, and political factors aggravate or alleviate conflict?


It is critical to conduct such a study because, despite Ghana’s recognition that climate change is a threat to its progress, no specific mention of the phenomenon’s conflict potentials was made in the country’s National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) document (Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology [MEST], 2012). Despite the fact that the NCCP’s primary concern is social development, all of the policy’s systemic pillars, including governance and coordination; capacity building; science, technology, and innovation; finance; international cooperation; information, communication, and education; monitoring and reporting (MEST), failed to make any explicit effort to discuss potential conflict issues associated with cl. As a result, this study will provide policy guidance to policymakers and other stakeholders in the creation or updating of future policies. Existing climate change policies should be expanded to address conflict-related issues. Recognizing this truth will help to avoid future conflicts and instead ensure corporation in any area of the country where water resources are plentiful.


This study will only look at climate change, water conflict, and human security in Ghana’s Bawku region.


The primary limitation of this study was the language barrier between the researcher and the study participants, particularly those from the selected areas.


1. CLIMATE CHANGE: A change in the state of the climate that can be detected (for example, using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or variability of its characteristics and that lasts for a long time, often decades or longer.

2. WATER CONFLICT: This refers to any situation in which water becomes the cause of a variety of unpleasant interactions, such as minor verbal disagreements and icy interstate relations.

as hostile military activities or declarations of war.

3 HUMAN SECURITY: The ability of individuals and communities to manage stresses to their needs, rights, and values.


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