The Climate Change and African Political Stability Program is a five-year research program at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin, partnered with the College of William and Mary, Trinity College Dublin, and University of North Texas. CCAPS analyzes how climate change, conflict, governance, and aid intersect to impact African and international security. CCAPS is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative, a university-based, social science research program focused on areas of strategic importance to national security policy. The CCAPS program works in three main areas:

CLIMATE CHANGE AND CONFLICT

CCAPS examines where and how climate change poses threats to stability in Africa. This research examines the spatial and temporal relationship between climate change vulnerability and patterns of conflict, thereby specifying where, when, and how climate-related events could disrupt Africa's security and development. Research focuses on:

  • Climate Vulnerability: Examines the environmental, population, socio-economic, and governance drivers of climate security vulnerability in Africa.
  • Climate Projection Model: New regional climate model for Africa generates mid-century climate projections to produce more near-term data for policy-relevant variables such as changes in growing season, precipitation, and heat index.
  • Social Conflict in Africa Database: New database analyzes various forms of social and political unrest in Africa.
  • Armed Conflict Location and Event Data: Provides real-time tracking of the actions of opposition groups, governments, and militias continent-wide.
  • Complex Emergencies: Explores how conflict, environmental, economic, and demographic instabilities coalesce to form different types of complex emergencies.

GOVERNANCE

Climate change can contribute significantly to social stress, which, in the absence of effective governance, can lead to conflict within and between affected populations. CCAPS examines the role of government institutions in mitigating or aggravating the effects of climate change on political stability in Africa. Research focuses on:

  • Constitutional Design: Explores how political institutions could buffer against conflict and other impacts of climate shocks.
  • Democratic Governance: Assesses the effectiveness of democracy promotion in Africa as a way of building resilient societies and responsive governments.
  • Metropolitan Governance: Assesses the capacity of metropolitan governance systems for disaster preparedness and response in urban areas. 
  • Disaster Response: Examines the capacity of countries to respond to natural disasters, particularly those that may increase due to climate change.

INTERNATIONAL AID

CCAPS examines the impact of foreign aid interventions in Africa. If effectively coordinated and implemented, aid for climate change adaptation should contribute to crisis prevention and adaptation and reduce the need for global assistance. Research focuses on:

  • Adaptation Aid: New geocoded, climate coded dataset tracks adaptation aid, analyzes aid distribution, and assess effectiveness of adaptation projects in targeting climate security risks.
  • Aid and Conflict: Explores the relationship between foreign aid and conflict control, including how much aid warring parties control and when aid may lead to more or less severe conflict.