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Factbook

Mapping environmental conflicts and cooperation

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Conflict between Didinga and Toposa in South Sudan

Type of conflict sub
Intensity 2
Region
Southern Africa
Time 1944 ‐ 2014
Countries S. Sudan
Resources Agricultural / Pastoral Land, Water
Conflict Summary Toposa and Didinga have repeatedly clashed over land, livestock and water in the past. In 2013, however, the two groups could reach a peace agreement and...
Conflict between Didinga and Toposa in South Sudan
Toposa and Didinga have repeatedly clashed over land, livestock and water in the past. In 2013, however, the two groups could reach a peace agreement and hostilities have ceased.
Conceptual Model

Climate Change

Temperature variations in South Sudan between 1997 and 2009 are correlated with strained natural resources, especially water.

Intermediary Mechanisms

The Didinga and Toposa have a history of cattle raiding and disputes over land and water. In 2007, violence renewed between both groups after a peaceful two year hiatus, partly due to temperature anomalies and an increased competition over scarce land and water resources.

Fragility and Conflict Risks

Violence broke out again when a Didinga group was attacked by Toposa cattle raiders. At least 54 people were killed during the attack.

Climate ChangeEnvironmental ChangeIntermediary MechanismsFragility and Conflict RisksSocial and Economic DriversChanging climate reduces available natural resources.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources reduces available resources and ecosystem services.Reduced availability of/access to natural resources leads to distributive conflicts between societal groups.A slow change in climatic conditions, particularly temperature and precipitation.Gradual Change in Temperature and/or PrecipitationGrowing scarcity of essential natural resources.Natural Resource ScarcityReduced availability of essential natural resources, such as land and water.Change in Access / Availability of Natural ResourcesNon-violent or violent tensions and conflicts between different societal groups.Grievances between Societal Groups
Context Factors
  • Water-stressed Area
  • History of Conflict
  • Low Level of Economic Development
  • Weak Institutions
Conflict History

Cattle raiding and disputes over land and water have plagued the Didinga and Toposa in the past. After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan in 2005 relations have improved and the two years following the signing of the peace agreement have been peaceful. However, in 2007 violence broke out again when a Didinga group was attacked by Toposa cattle raiders. At least 54 people were killed during the attack, including 48 women (The Didinga Community, 2007; UCDP, 2015).

One reason for the renewed violence between Toposa and Didinga can be seen in increasing competition over scarce resources, mainly grazing land and water. Maystadt et al. identified temperature anomalies as an important factor exacerbating this situation (Maystadt et al., 2014). From 1997 to 2009, high temperature deviations from the historical mean were found to correlate with an increased frequency of local conflicts in North and South Sudan (UNHCR, 2014; Maystadt et al., 2014).

Another factor contributing to the outbreak of violence in 2007 was the enrolment of many Didinga men in the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, leaving the Didinga community unable to defend itself against Toposa attacks. A factor further compounded by the lack of adequate police protection in Didinga areas (The Didinga Community, 2007).

Resolution Efforts

In 2013 the Didinga and Toposa reached a peace agreement and vowed to end hostility (Nakimangole, 2013). In March 2014 a second peace conference was organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the East Equatorian State Government, which was attended by leaders of both groups. During the peace talks, cattle raids were condemned and the state government agreed to deploy police personnel into the area (UNMISS, 2014). Since then hostilities between Toposa and Didinga have ceased.

Intensities & Influences
conflict intensity scale
Intensities
International / Geopolitical Intensity
Human Suffering

Influences
Environmental Influences
Societal Influences

Fatalities
54
Violent Conflict Yes
Salience within nation Municipal
Mass Displacement None
Cross Border Mass Displacement No
Resources
Agricultural / Pastoral Land, Water
Resolution Success
Reduction in Violence Violence has ceded completely.
Reduction in geographical scope There has been no reduction in geographical scope.
Increased capacity to address grievance in the future There is no increased capacity to address grievances in the future.
Grievance Resolution Grievances have been mostly addressed.
Causal Attribution of Decrease in Conflict Intensity Conflict resolution strategies have been clearly responsible for the decrease in conflict intensity.
General opencollapse
Country Data in Comparison
ConflictNoData Created with Sketch.
Fault Lines Defining Conflict Parties
Purely Environmental | Cultural   ♦   Occupational   ♦   Economic   ♦   Urban / Rural   ♦   National / International conflict   ♦   Sub-national political


Actors
Participation Conflict Party     Conflict Resolution Facilitator
Didinga community
Functional GroupCivil Society
Geographical ScaleInternal Grassroots
Toposa community
Functional GroupCivil Society
Geographical ScaleInternal Grassroots
United Nations Mission in South Sudan
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleExternal
East Equatorian State government
Functional GroupPublic
Geographical ScaleInternal Grassroots
Entry Points for Resilience and Peace Building
2 Peacekeeping The state government agreed to deploy police personnel into the area.
2 Dialogue A peace conference was organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the East Equatorian State Government in 2014.
3 Treaty/agreement The Didinga and Toposa reached a peace agreement in 2013.
Further Details opencollapse
Conflict Characterization
Character of the contested good Public good: No one can be excluded from use and the good is not depleted.
Structure of decision-making power / interdependence Symmetric: All parties can affect the environmental resource equally.
Broad conflict characterization Resource capture is not present.
Ecological marginalization is not present.
Data of involved Countries
Resources and Materials opencollapse
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