Climate change, conflict and security scan: analysis of current thinking December 2018–March 2019

  • Par Katie Peters, Leigh Mayhew, Olena Borodyna, Hannah Measures, Kristina Petrova, Christie Nicoson, Pernilla Nordqvist and Laura E.R. Peters
  • 11/03/2020

A Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldier watches over a river which borders China, in Laiza, in KIA controlled territory in Kachin State, near Maija Yang, Burma (Myanmar) - by Adam Dean/ Panos


In the third climate change, conflict and security scan, covering the period from December 2018 to March 2019, we show that this quadrimester has witnessed the release of an astonishing array of new publications – reviewed through our summary of academic articles and grey literature, debates and announcements, and also conveyed through our summary of the blogosphere, and opinions found on Twitter.

Many new authors appear in our bibliography, publishing on different aspects of the intersection of climate change, conflict and security. There is also a completely new list of top five individuals tweeting, which reveals that the breath of individuals and agencies engaging in the topic continues to expand.

Prominent institutions continue to feature widely in the policy discourse, publication of grey literature and the blogosphere, with reporting from the World Economic Forum (WEF), United Nations (UN) Security Council debates on the security implications of disasters, and the fourth Planetary Security Conference. However, these high-profile forums are increasingly being complemented by evidence on the local experiences of the intersection of climate change, conflict and security. For example, through articles exploring the ‘double vulnerability’ of climate and conflict risk, with implications for humanitarian, development, peacebuilding and climate communities.

Across the blogosphere, debate rages about the place of climate change in US national security priorities, and there is continued academic analysis of the political discourse of climate change found in policy documents and statements. This complements analysis on international and transboundary dimensions of the climate security nexus, with literature pointing to potential ways forward for such challenges in the context of:

  • territory allocation in the Arctic
  • regional cooperation around shared natural resources in Africa and Asia
  • understanding and responding to changing patterns of human mobility across borders.

Themes less prominent in previous scans that appear here include urban landscapes, human mobility, and rights and justice. This complements new evidence on the intersection of disasters with conflict and violence, this time drawing on themes of poverty, inequality and marginalisation.

As with the previous two scans, we aim to provide time-poor policy-makers, practitioners and academics with a summary of the new knowledge and evidence that has emerged over a four-month period. As described in the methodology for each section, the scan is not exhaustive but in featuring 25 top blog posts, 39 publications from grey literature and 66 articles from the academic articles, we believe this provides a good starting point for anyone wanting to better understand the nexus.

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