Climate Change, Conflict, and Children

Year: 2016 HiCN Working Paper No. 221

This paper reviews the evidence linking climate variability to conflict, broadly defined, and the subsequent short and long-term implications of children’s exposure to conflict. Evidence generally supports strong links between hotter temperatures, reduced rainfall and more conflict, defined to include violence ranging from intergroup to interpersonal to intrapersonal. Individuals exposed to conflicts while in utero or in childhood suffer negative health and education effects. There is less evidence about long-term impacts or how conflict exposure beyond early childhood affects children. In contrast with other types of negative shocks experienced by children, exposure to conflict is not always correlated with significant gender bias against girls, as many studies show impacts on all children. Much less is known about the mechanisms through which conflict impacts child health and education, how households cope with conflict shocks, or the impacts of conflict on other outcomes including intergenerational transmission of the shock.