Narratives of Conflict, Climate, and Development: Re-envisioning Sustainability from Post-War Northern Uganda

Principal Investigator

Dr Adam Branch

Research Institution

University of Cambridge

Research Institution

Dr Paul Omach, Makerere University

Project Summary

How can climate change policy for post-conflict northern Uganda – and, by extension, for other post-conflict contexts – be re-envisioned so that it enables peace and development instead of inadvertently locking in legacies of violence and injustice?

The project will explore how two different disciplinary frameworks understand the relation between conflict, development, and environmental crisis and how they can be put into conversation in order to produce highly innovative results academically and for climate change policy.

First, we will employ a political ecology framework to look at the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda, framing the relation between conflict, development, and environmental crisis as representing struggles over resources between state and capital on one side and the community on the other. This lens will provide insight into the ongoing negotiations and conflicts over land, forests, and water.

Second, we will employ history and literary and cultural studies to explore the northern Ugandan community’s own understanding of conflict, development, and climate change, which will provide a very different basis for dealing with the threat posed by environmental crisis. It is the creative dialogue between these disciplinary paradigms as they are employed in research that will produce the project’s novel answers.

The project will be guided by an interdisciplinary, international team of scholars from the humanities and social sciences, led by Dr. Adam Branch of the University of Cambridge and Dr. Paul Omach of Makerere University, Uganda. In addition, the project will partner with Human Rights Focus (Uganda), a local human rights organization with a long record of research and advocacy during the conflict and in the post-conflict period.


The project’s recommendations for climate change adaptation policies, policies that do justice to the legacy of conflict, will achieve impact through several routes. First, at the grassroots level, the project partner will host community dialogues in which the ideas and proposals developed through the research are presented and discussed, utilizing existing networks of human rights activists and monitors. Second, at the local and regional government level, we will hold a major conference at the end of the project, enabling a critical discussion of these themes among key political actors and policy makers, as well as developing an impact network in Uganda.

At the international level, the publications, working papers, and website, together with the project team’s engagement with policy makers, will help shape the debate on climate, peace, and development in northern Uganda. We also seek to sustain the project’s impact through developing research capacity on environmental issues in Northern Uganda, setting the foundation for a strong community-based voice in future debates on climate, conflict, development, and transitional justice. 

Contact Information

For further information, please email Adam at