From the late 1970s you have had a significant desertification, and you’ve been having in the north of Darfur basically a situation where people’s simply entire livelihoods are destroyed, and which has been one of the elements, because it has driven the nomadic population in the north down into the south.
Two things have happened. First, the population has doubled in the last generation, and second, the rainfall has gone down sharply. These are very hungry, crowded people, and now they are killing each other.
Focus most of all on this part of Africa just on the edge of the Sahara. Unbelievable tragedies have been unfolding there and there are a lot reasons for it. Darfur and Niger are among those tragedies. One of the factors that has been compounding this is the lack of rainfall and the increasing drought.
Rainfall in Darfur did not decline significantly in the years prior to the eruption of major conflict in 2003; rainfall exhibited a flat trend in the thirty-years preceding the conflict (1972-2002). The claim that climate change explains the conflict rests on the observation that rainfall in Darfur has declined when comparing the present thirty-year period of 1972-2002 with earlier periods. This is strongly evident for El Fasher and El Geneina but less clear for the more southerly rainfall stations. Rainfall is basically stationary over the pre– and post-1972 sub-periods. A theory linking climate change around 1972 with an outbreak of conflict in 2003 has no compelling supporting evidence at present.
While semi-arid conditions of low rainfall with high variability, both temporally and spatially, are tough environments for humans, there is much evidence that Sahelian societies have coped through evolving strategies such as income diversification, agricultural intensification and migration, rather than large-scale violence. Life is not peaceful: there are endemic low-level struggles over resources, particularly between herders and farmers. However, conflict has not erupted into warfare because regional institutions and central governments have by-and-large projected their authority into Sahelian hinterlands and arrested violent situations before they have intensified.
An elite ruling the country from Khartoum that has preferred to exclude peripheral populations from genuine participation in political processes.