In recent years the linkages between climate change, security and violent conflict have received increasing attention from policy-makers and researchers. Changed precipitation patterns, rising temperatures, melting glaciers, weather-related disasters and sea-level rise are some of the negative impacts of climate change that will undermine the livelihood of vulnerable communities, cause forced migration and social unrest. The security implications of these challenges are multifaceted and encompass human, community and state-centred security perspectives.

This project has a two-fold purpose. First, it seeks to provide enhanced knowledge about the security implications of climate change and under what circumstances those implications arise. Second, the project investigates the tools and instruments that can be used for integrating climate security challenges in the work of policy organisations, particularly those having their mandate in foreign policy, security policy and/or development. The overall purpose is to refine the current understanding of how to adequately address climate-related security risks in different societal contexts.

In the project’s initial phase, we conducted a scooping study of the linkages between climate change and insecurity in thematic areas such as water security, food security, sea-level rise, extreme weather events and climate-induced migration. Thereafter, we made three in-depth studies. The goals in these studies were to:

1) Seek a deeper understanding of how and under what circumstances climate change and variability increase the risks of violent conflict;

2) Increase knowledge on how development organisations integrate climate and conflict risk in their work, particularly in climate change programmes and in peacebuilding work; and

3) Increase knowledge on how the EU, particularly the European External Action Service, has incorporated security risks posed by climate change in its foreign and security policy.

The methods employed include literature reviews, document analysis and interviewing. These studies will be published during spring 2016. In addition to these studies, we arranged two workshops with Swedish organisations to explore how they incorporate security challenges posed by climate change in their work. A synthesising final report will be released in September 2016.

The project contributes to the scholarly debate on the complex relationship between climate change and security while at the same time providing recommendations for how these challenges can be integrated in on-going policy-processes, in Sweden and internationally.

The project is a collaboration between Stockholm University, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Ui). It is funded by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and runs from September 2015 to September 2016.


Malin Mobjörk, PhD., senior researcher at SIPRI
Phone: + 46 (0)709 80 76 95

Project team

Karin Bäckstrand, Professor in Environmental Social Science, Stockholm University
Lisa Dellmuth, PhD., Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Economic History, Stockholm University
Maria-Therese Gustafsson, PhD., researcher, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University
Niklas Bremberg, PhD., postdoc, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Ui
Hannes Sonnsjö, MSc, assistant at Department of Political Science, Stockholm University
Sebastian van Baalen, MSc, assistant at Department of Political Science, Stockholm University

Policy briefs

Climate Change in an EU Security Context (247 Kb)

How to Integrate Climate and Conflict Risks in Development Cooperation (408 Kb)

Climate change and violent conflict (304 Kb)

The role of multilateral organisations in addressing climate change and its security risks (228 Kb)


Climate-related security risks (770 Kb)

Climate change in an EU security context (654 Kb)

A coming anarchy? Pathways from climate change to violent conflict in East Africa (955 Kb)

How do Development Organisations Integrate Climate and Conflict Risks? (687 Kb)