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What is the evidence that scarcity and shocks in freshwater resources can cause conflict instead of promoting collaboration in arid to subhumid hydroclimates?

What is the aim of the review?

Anthropogenic activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels, land-use change and intensive agriculture are increasingly influencing the Earth’s climate and exerting pressure on ecosystems (Rockström et al., 2009; Solomon et al., 2007). These changes have amplified the risk of scarcity and shocks (discrete and sudden events) in natural renewable resource (henceforth, NRR) scarcity across the spectrum of spatial scales (MEA, 2005; Parry et al., 2007)..

The environment-conflict literature has been shaped by two contrasting arguments, referred to as the 'greed versus grievance' debate (Berdal and Malone, 2000). First, 'grievance' arguments suggest that environmental degradation and scarcity in renewable resources leads to conflict (Homer-Dixon, 1999). Second, 'greed' arguments suggest that localized abundance of non-renewable natural resources and competition to gain control over these resources leads to conflict (de Soysa, 2002). Transgressing the 'greed versus grievance' debate, a third body of literature has emerged to argue that resource scarcity does not necessarily lead to violent conflict, but can instead lead to collaboration.

The interplay between freshwater scarcity and conflict/collaboration is the most prominent and referenced environment-conflict issues in the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports of the IPCC (Nordås and Gleditsch, 2009). For example, climate change is likely to affect the volume and timing of river flows and groundwater recharge (Arnell, 2004). Discussions with the review user-group, confirmed that a systematic mapping of the literature in this particular field was a priority.

Who's in the review team?

At what stage is the review?
This review is currently at the draft review stage. Please check this page again soon for progress updates.

Comments?
If you would like to comment on any aspect of this review, please email us. Your feedback is appreciated.

Document Links

- Protocol pdf

- Review

- Additional material pdf


 

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