A new research project on how peacebuilding
institutions are adapting to climate change

We know that climate change will profoundly change conflict landscapes — though exactly how and where is impossible to predict.

The Climate / Security Capacities Project is empirical, real-time research to explore how peacebuilding institutions are evolving to meet this uncertain future.

The goal is to go beyond policy headlines to explore the development of the specific institutional capabilities that underpin effective action.

These are explored through a well-validated diagnostic framework that addresses strategic foresight; internal system capacities; and external legitimacy & support.

Rationale & objectives

There is already a large literature on the specific ways that climate change will interact with known drivers of conflict.

My point of departure is a bit different–that actually acting on this information poses major adaptive challenges for the institutions concerned. With this in mind, the research interest is to develop a systematic and sharable accounts of how such challenges are being approached.

Integral to this is supporting partner organisations with a comparative perspective on organisational adaptations–and access to the best-available research on the anticipatory governance of complex risks.

Approach & methodology

I explore how institutions are adapting to climate change with a public value framework, adapted from well-established diagnostic tools in government (see e.g. the Berber review and from Harvard Kennedy School).

The core idea is that effective conflict prevention will rest on three pillars: (i) Strategic foresight of how climate futures will interact with conflict dynamics; (ii) the system capacities to leverage that foresight and act on relevant issues; and (iii) legitimacy & support amongst stakeholders at all levels.


Empirically, I approach each of these pillars with a diagnostic framework that sets out specific empirical questions, and that is evolving over time based on institutional experiences.

The model adapts and applies decades of research on how institutions learn and act on emerging challenges. The key contributions* are from conflict dynamics, political ecology, science & technology studies, and critical futures studies.

(* Working paper and literature visualisations are forthcoming.)

Key project information

This is a doctoral research project under the Development Studies department of SOAS, University of London. The Department is a leading global centre (currently ranked #2 in the world) for the inter-disciplinary study of economic, political, and social change.

Academic support is provided by two primary academic supervisors (Jonathan Goodhand and Andrew Newsham), along with a broader reference group of subject matter experts.

For more information including data protection, please click here for the project’s key information sheet. There are no funding interests to disclose.


I am a strategy and transformation consultant with 20+ years of experience across multilateral institutions and in highly fragile contexts (see Consulting).

In the past I have coordinated global reviews of policy/practice for topics including UN-World Bank partnerships, integrated planning for UN peace operations, and durable solutions for long-term refugee populations.

My earlier qualifications are in law (UNSW Australia) and public policy (Harvard Kennedy School). Publications include the One Step Forward podcast — a dialogue project on the ethics and practice of international public service — and long reads on strategy and innovative financing in protracted crises.