Conflict and social vulnerability to climate change: Lessons from Gaza

Michael Mason, Mark Zeitoun, Rebhy el Sheikh

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In societies marred by conflict, the propensity of populations to be harmed by climate hazards is likely to be increased by their exposure to violence and other coercive practices. Stakeholder assessments of climate vulnerability, as reported here for the Gaza Strip, can capture the qualitative experience of harm caused by conflict-related practices as these relate to, and interact with, forecasted climatic risks. The key pathways of climate vulnerability identified by stakeholders in Gaza relate above all to expected impacts on food security and water security. Exploration of these vulnerability pathways reveals conflict-structured non-climatic risks overwhelming forecasted climate risks. The prevalence in Gaza of short-term 'enforced coping' prevents the development of long-term adaptive capacity. Climate vulnerability assessments in (post)conflict environments should acknowledge the methodological and political-policy challenges caused by chronic, non-climatic sources of harm. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-297
Number of pages13
JournalClimate and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • climate vulnerability
  • conflict
  • enforced coping
  • Gaza Strip
  • human security

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