Responding to Climate-Related Security Risks: Reviewing Regional Organizations in Asia and Africa


Purpose of Review

This paper presents new insight on the approaches and ability to respond to climate-related security risks in four regional intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) in Asia and Africa—ASEAN (South East Asia), SAARC (South Asia), ECOWAS (West Africa), and IGAD (East Africa).

Recent Findings

IGOs are becoming increasingly important in responding to climate-related security risks, given the transnational character of these risks. Previous research has primarily focused on Western-based IGOs, whereas more attention is needed on IGOs in fragile and developing regions to increase our understanding of the emerging challenges and to take adequate measurements to mitigate climate-related security risks.


We show that the regional security context and vulnerability to climate change affects the framing of climate-related security risks, and that the risks identified often relate to livelihood conditions and development, rather than state security. Measurements are taken, but the key challenge remains the implementation of these policies.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

  1. 1.

    Elmhagen B, Destouni G, Angerbjörn A, Borgström S, Boyd E, Cousins SAO, et al. Interacting effects of change in climate, human population, land use, and water use on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Ecol Soc. 2015;20:art23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Adger WN, Eakin H, Winkels A. Nested and teleconnected vulnerabilities to environmental change. Front Ecol Environ. Wiley-Blackwell; 2009;7:150–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    •• Dellmuth LM, Gustafsson M-T, Bremberg N, Mobjörk M. Intergovernmental organizations and climate security: advancing the research agenda. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Clim Chang. 2018:e496 This is the first comprehensive review of the literature on IGOs responses to climate-related security risks.

  4. 4.

    Bremberg N. European regional organizations and climate-related security risks: EU, OSCE and NATO. Solna; 2018.

  5. 5.

    Mobjörk M, Gustafsson M-T, Sonnsjö H, van Baalen S, Dellmuth LM, Bremberg N. Climate-related security risks. Solna: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    • Oels A. Rendering climate change governable by risk: from probability to contingency. Geoforum Pergamon. 2013;45:17–29 This article applies Foucault’s concept of governmentality to explore changes in the risk management of climate change.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    • Zwolski K, Kaunert C. The EU and climate security: a case of successful norm entrepreneurship? Eur Secur. 2011;20:21–43 This is an excellent article that analyses the development of EU as a global actor on climate security.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Conca K. An unfinished foundation. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press; 2015.

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    •• Conca K, Thwaites J, Lee G. Climate change and the UN Security Council: bully pulpit or bull in a China shop? Global Environ Polit. 2017;17:1–20 This article presents and discusses six proposals derived from academic and policy literature on what actions the UN Security Council could take on climate-related security risks.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    •• Scott S, Ku C. Climate change and the UN Security Council. London: Edward Elgar Publishing; 2018. This edited volume involves 12 chapters that examine the scope and options for the UN’s Security Council to respond to climate insecurity.

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Hall N. Moving beyond its mandate? UNHCR and climate change displacement. J Int Org Stud. 2013;4:91–108.

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Adger WN, Barnett J, Hovelsrud GK, Levy MA, Spring ÚO, Vogel CH. 12 human security. Climate change impacts, Adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge and New York:; 2014. p. 755–91.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    McDonald M. Discourses of climate security. Polit Geogr Pergamon. 2013;33:42–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Trombetta MJ. Environmental security and climate change: analyzing the discourse. Camb Rev. Int Aff. 2008;21:585–602.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Dalby S. Security and environmental change. Cambridge: Polity; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Ruttinger L, Smith D, Stang G, Tänzler D, Vivekananda J. A new climate for peace. adelphi, International Alert, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, European Union Institute for Security Studies; 2015 pp. 1–172.

  17. 17.

    German Advisory Council on Global Change. Climate change as a security risk. London and Sterling: Earthscan; 2007.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Barnett J. Security and climate change. Global environmental change. Pergamon. 2003;13:7–17.

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Barnett J, Adger WN. Climate change, human security and violent conflict. Polit Geogr. 2007;26:639–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Gemenne F, Barnett J, Adger WN, Dabelko G. Climate and security: evidence, emerging risks, and a new agenda. Clim Change. Springer Netherlands. 2014;123:1–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Gilmore EA. Introduction to special issue: disciplinary perspectives on climate change and conflict. Curr Clim Change Rep [Internet]. 2017;3:193–9. Available from:

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    McDonald M. Climate change and security: towards ecological security? International Theory. Cambridge University Press. 2018;10:153–80.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Birkmann J, Teichman von K. Integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation: key challenges—scales, knowledge, and norms. Sustain Sci. 2nd ed. Springer Japan; 2010;5:171–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Steinbruner JD, Stern PC, Husbands JL. Climate and social stress: implications for security analysis. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Matthew RA. Integrating climate change into peacebuilding. Climatic Change. Springer Netherlands. 2014;123:83–93.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Adger WN. Climate change, human well-being and insecurity. New Polit Econ. Routledge; 2010;15:275–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    • Floyd R. Global climate security governance: a case of institutional and ideational fragmentation. Conflict, Security & Development, vol. 15. Abingdon: Routledge; 2015. p. 119–46. This article critically scrutinizes the institutional fragmentation of global security governance.

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Mason M. Climate Insecurity in (Post)Conflict Areas: The Biopolitics of United Nations Vulnerability Assessments. Geopolitics. 2014;19:806–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Displacement HN. Development, and Climate Change. London: Routledge; 2016.

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Kelman I. Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Int J Disaster Risk Sci. 2nd ed. Beijing Normal University Press; 2015;6:117–27.

  31. 31.

    Magnan AK, Schipper ELF, Burkett M, Bharwani S, Burton I, Eriksen S, et al. Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. John Wiley & Sons. Inc. 2016;7:646–65.

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Swatuk LA, Wirkus L, Krampe F, Thomas BK, da Silva LPB. Introduction: theorizing the boomerang effect, Larry Swatuk, Lars Wirkus, Florian Krampe, Bejoy K. Thomas, Luis Paulo Batista da Silva. Water, Climate Change and the Boomerang Effect: Unintentional Consequences for Resource Insecurity. Routledge; 2018.

  33. 33.

    Gerring J. Case study research. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press; 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    George AL, Bennett A. Case studies and theory development in the social sciences. Cambridge: MIT Press; 2005.

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Haas PM. Do regimes matter? Epistemic communities and Mediterranean pollution control. Int. Org. Cambridge University Press. 1989;43:377–403.

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Haas PM. Introduction: epistemic communities and international policy coordination. Int. Org. The MIT Press; 1992;46:1–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Richards D. Elite interviewing: approaches and pitfalls. Politics. Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Hoboken; 1996;16:199–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Krampe F, Gignoux S. Water service provision and peacebuilding in East Timor: Exploring the socioecological determinants for sustaining peace. 2018; Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. 2018;2:185-207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Krampe F, Scassa R, Mitrotta G. Responses to climate-related security risks: regional organizations in Asia and Africa. SIPRI Insights in Peace and Security [Internet]. Solna: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; 2018. Available from:

  40. 40.

    Le Billon P. The political ecology of war: natural resources and armed conflicts. Polit Geogr. 2001;20:561–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Beevers MD. Peacebuilding and natural resource governance after armed conflict. Cham: Palgrave; 2019.

    Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    van Baalen S, Mobjörk M. Climate Change and Violent Conflict in East Africa: integrating qualitative and quantitative research to probe the mechanisms. Int Stud Rev [Internet]. 2017. Available from:

  43. 43.

    Krampe F, Swain A. Human development and minority empowerment. In: Richmond OP, Pogodda S, Ramovic J, editors. The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace. Basingstoke; 2016.

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Florian Krampe.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Climate Change and Conflicts

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Krampe, F., Mobjörk, M. Responding to Climate-Related Security Risks: Reviewing Regional Organizations in Asia and Africa. Curr Clim Change Rep 4, 330–337 (2018).

Download citation


  • Climate-related security risks
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • Climate change
  • Security