Climate projects not always effective because of conflicts between farmers and nomads

€500,000 for research into conflicts and climate projects in Africa

Professor Annelies Zoomers and researcher Femke van Noorloos have been awarded €500,000 to study the relationship between climate projects and local conflict or cooperation in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Kenya. Over the next three years they will work with local researchers to examine the social aspects of climate change in order to improve the effectiveness of climate interventions in these countries.

Conflicts in arid regions

Increasing acidification, decreasing soil fertility and population growth are leading to more frequent conflicts between small-scale farmers and nomadic pastoralists in arid regions in Africa. As a result, climate projects, such as those seeking to improve agriculture methods or make better use of agricultural land, frequently fail to achieve their intended results.

Making climate projects more successful

As Femke van Noorloos explains, “Many local authorities and NGOs embark on projects in these regions as a way of responding to climate change. Most of these projects focus on technical rather than social aspects of the problems. We will be studying how projects can deal better with conflicts, both between farmers and nomads, and also within families. One of the things we will be doing will be to examine how farmers, nomads and also women and ethnic minorities are involved in the changes. We are then going to apply our results in the projects directly.”


This grant was awarded to the researchers as part of the NWO’s ‘Conflict and Cooperation over Natural Resources in Developing Countries’ (CoCooN) programme.

Faculty of Geosciences: a sustainable Earth for future generations