Impacts of Climate Change on Water and Pasture Resulting in Cross-border Conflicts: A Case Study of Turkana and Pokot Pastoralists of Northwestern Kenya

Volume 5:3

Victor Savatia

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IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC)


Northwestern Kenya is purely an ASAL (Arid and semi-arid land) region. The mean annual maximum temperature is 430C while the mean minimum annual temperature is 140C. The mean annual rainfall is 230mm. Nomadic pastoralism is the major economic activity in the area and it accounts for 60-70% of all livestock in Kenya. Pastoralism accounts for 90% of the employment and 95% of the family incomes and livelihood security in the region. However, frequent droughts occasioned by climate change have threatened this important sector which offers a viable production system in the vast drylands of the country. Consequently, an important question that needs to be addressed is how has the pressure over scarce resources consequent to climatic change led to conflict in the area? And what have been the patterns over the years? Against this background, this work focuses on investigating the chain of interactions between climate change and conflicts over water and pasture. This paper assesses both rainfall and conflicts patterns over Northwestern Kenya and the relationship between raids and rainfall in the region. Both graphical and correlation analysis were used in this study. Model outputs from four Global Climate Models (GCMs) and Precis Regional model were also evaluated. The data sets used included: monthly rainfall data for Lodwar from 1950 to 2008 and number of raids from 1961 to December 2006.

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