Online Program

Global climate change and local public health in southern Chad: Mediating pastoralist-agriculturalist conflict and improving food security

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rosemary Till, BA, School of Public and Community Health Sciences, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT
This paper explores the connections between global climate change and local public health in southern Chad. Its purpose is to highlight the local implications of global climate change and indicate directions for future research. Improved food security for the diverse groups living in southern Chad is a tangible goal of this research. A review of existing literature is conducted to compare and integrate themes of climate change, drought, famine, food security and conflict. Interviews are conducted with local personnel working for the Chadian non-governmental organization BAOBAB on herder-farmer mediation and food security projects in several rural areas. The southward expansion of the Sahara Desert due to global climate change has narrowed the Sahel belt and reduced the amount of land that can support traditional livelihoods. Nomadic pastoralist groups must travel farther south in search of water for herds, putting them in increasingly direct competition with sedentary agriculturalist groups. According to the United Nations, eighty percent of Chad's population is dependent upon livestock production and agriculture for survival. Within a wider regional trend of drought and severe famine, this increased competition results in an amplifying cycle of conflict and food insecurity for both groups. Conflict effectively lowers population health and decreases the local capacity for response to public health crises, comprehensive public health promotion, and sustainable development. While the effects of global climate change are difficult to slow or reverse, creative solutions must be found to produce food in increasingly adverse conditions and mediate local disputes between pastoralist and agriculturalist groups.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impact of global climate change on local public health in southern Chad, with special reference to increased competition for resources, inter-ethnic conflict and food insecurity. Formulate directions for future research and intervention with the goal of improving food security in southern Chad and the Sahel.

Keyword(s): Hunger, Conflict Resolution

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an academic background in both Development Studies and Public Health and have lived and worked for a non-governmental organization in southern Chad. I intend to pursue further studies in the field of Medical Anthropology and I have specific interest in food security issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.