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Photo by Nichole Sobecki/GroundTruthPhoto by Nichole Sobecki/GroundTruth


On May 30, 2017 the foundation co-hosted a screening of “A Climate for Conflict” and discussion with the creators followed by a panel discussion on Climate Security and Societal Resilience.

Struggling with famine, drought, and violence, Somalia today is at a crossroads between a deepening crisis and a path to stability. Photographer and filmmaker Nichole Sobecki and writer Laura Heaton spent 18 months documenting personal stories of Somalia, creating a film, photography, and reporting that vividly illustrate the human consequences and security risks of a changing climate. 

How can leaders and civil society—from global to local—coordinate action to mitigate the impacts of climate change and prevent violent conflict? What strategies should be advanced to strengthen societal resilience to such impacts? How can media coverage and public engagement support these efforts?

Watch the replay of the discussion.

Download the transcript.

The Watson FilesWhat if there were a blueprint for climate adaptation that could end a civil war? An English scientist spent his life developing one—then he vanished without a trace. Foreign Policy Magazine feature article by Laura Heaton with photos by Nichole Sobecki, May 31, 2017

Reflections on the event: "A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia," by Sharon Burke, Senior Advisor, International Security Program, New America, June 1, 2017

Panelists and Moderator:

  • Laura Heaton, Writer and Journalist, GroundTruth Fellow
  • Nichole Solbecki, Photojournalist and Filmmaker, GroundTruth Fellow
  • Jon Kurtz, Director of Research and Learning, Mercy Corps
  • Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, Chairman of The Gunn Group and Vice Chairman of CNA's Military Advisory Board
  • Dr. Cheikh Mbow, the Executive Director of START International
  • Moderator: Sharon Burke, Senior Advisor, International Security Program, New America 

Identifying Strategies for Building Societal Resilience to Climate Change and Conflict

On May 31, 2017 the Stanley Foundation co-hosted a Policy Salon Dinner, in New York City featuring a screening of the ABC News Nightline documentary “A Climate for Conflict,” followed by a discussion on climate change, conflict, resilience, and the role of the media. 


Environmental Peacebuilding

A New Climate for Peace, Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risk

Making the Environment an Ally for Peace: Q&A with Erik Solheim, May 15, 2017 by Jimena Leiva Roesch, The Global Observatory

What Quantitative Analyses Tell Us About Climate Change and Conflict

Backdraft: The Conflict Potential of Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Instruments of Pain (III): Conflict and Famine in Somalia Crisis Group Africa, May 9, 2017 Nairobi/Brussels, International Crisis Group

Food Insecurity and Conflict Dynamics: Causal Linkages and Complex Feedbacks, June 2013 by Cullen S. Hendrix and Henk-Jan Brinkman

Food Insecurity and Violent Conflict: Causes, Consequences, and Addressing the Challenges, July 2011 by Henk-Jan Brinkman and Cullen S. Hendrix

Putting Environmental Stress (Back) on the Mass Atrocities Agenda, October 2016 a Stanley Foundation Policy Analysis Brief by Cullen Hendrix

The Age of Consequences, a film by Jared P. Scott. How Climate Change impacts resource scarcity, migration and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability. June 2017

Experts Identify 12 Major Epicenters of Climate Risks to International Security from the Center for Climate Security


Famines in the 21st century? It’s not for lack of food, March 6, 2017, The Conversation

Somali Government Calls for End of Arms Embargo to Defeat al-Shabaab, May 11, 2017, by Patrick Wintour Diplomatic, editor, The Guardian

New UN Chief Faces Uphill Battle on Conflict Prevention, March 29, 2017, by Kristy Siegfried, Migration Editor, IRIN

“My Apartment Building Is Full of Women Worrying About What Is Next”, March 8, 2017, by Abigail Higgins, Development Set

NATO Lawmakers Warn Climate Change May Worsen Middle East Security Risks, May 22, 2017, by Alex Whiting, Thomson Reuters Foundation 

Flexibility, Long-Term Planning Reduce Somali Famine Threat, Report Says, August 22, 2017, by Adela Suliman, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Research Studies

Resilience and Conflict in Nigeria: Analysis of Dynamics and Programming Leverage Points for Programming (2017), dug further into the evidence on what makes communities resilient to conflict.  The study, leveraged panel data from the World Bank that spans the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Mercy Corps was able to study what household and community characteristics are important sources of resilience when households deal with conflict and related shocks in fragile contexts.

Pathways From Peace to Resilience (2015), found that in places where there were stronger informal and formal conflict management systems, people were better able to cope with climate and economic shocks.

Conflict, Livelihoods, and Resilience (2015), research from Nigeria shows that in settings of farmer-pastoralist conflict, community livelihood improvement strategies exacerbated conflict, and conversely that conflict coping mechanisms reduced livelihood capacities. This finding underscores the importance of focusing on conflict management mechanisms when trying to build long-term resilience and improve well-being in communities affected by conflict.

What Really Matters for Resilience (2013) found that Somali families with strong  inter-clan ties and trusted conflict management systems fared far better during the 2011 drought than families in communities with weak social fabric.

From Conflict to Coping (2012) produced evidence that programs that helped communities improve peace and security contributed to a greater resilience of communities to the effects of drought, namely: improved peace and stability outcomes within communities increased individuals’ and groups' freedoms of movement, which allowed groups to share access to resources during and ahead of times of crises in order to collectively better cope with the effects of the drought. 


New America: Resource Security 

GroundTruth Films

Center for Climate and Security

Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program 

Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience 

 To learn more, visit:

The Ground Truth Project
New America

Catherine Miller Explorer Awards: Where in the World Do You Want to Go? Catherine Miller Explorer Awards: Where in the World Do You Want to Go?
Attention all full-time Muscatine Community School District and Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School K-12 teachers, for the 2019-2020 school year, the Stanley Foundation announces: Catherine Miller Explorer Awards. Enter the drawing.

60th Strategy for Peace Conference 60th Strategy for Peace Conference
The Stanley Foundation convenes its Strategy for Peace Conference annually to consider key policy challenges, drawing on the experience and knowledge of invited experts from the public and private sectors.

Concurrent roundtables focused on each of the foundation’s three current areas of programming—climate changenuclear policy, and mass violence and atrocities. These roundtable discussions are intended to generate group consensus recommendations for policy change and multilateral action. More.

Courier Courier
The Spring 2019 issue of Courier highlights some of the impact-driven activities the Stanley Foundation pursue with its partners. This includes stories that resulted from two journalism workshops: one examining the false missile alert in Hawaii, as well as one focused on issues of conflict and instability. This issue also examines how Green Banks could help bridge the climate finance gap, explores a new initiative that hopes to bring gender equity to the nuclear field, and brings you the stories of three teachers who enhanced their understanding of the world through travel. Spring 2019 PDF. Subscribe for Free.

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The Stanley Foundation: Part of COP24 The Stanley Foundation: Part of COP24
As a part of our efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the foundation put forward policy ideas to achieve a global turning point in emissions by 2020, built upon efforts to catalyze global climate action by countries and sub- and non-state actors, and worked with journalists to strengthen coverage of the UN climate negotiations.