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Climate Change, Conflict and Disaster Politics


Admission requirements

Only students of the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy programme can take this course.


Climate change, disaster and conflict intersect with and influence one another in numerous ways. For instance, areas affected by violent conflict are more vulnerable to climate change impacts. Disasters such as droughts can act as threat multipliers for various types of conflict. Disasters that occur in the midst of violent conflict have led to the end of conflict in some cases, but worsened it in others. As the world is increasingly seeing the impacts of climate change, including the increase in droughts and intensity of storms, it is becoming more pressing to understand the linkages between the three.
This course starts with an understanding of climate change, conflict, and disaster, after which it explores how the three intersect. The course will look at how various inequalities along gendered, racial, and socio-economic lines, amongst others, become visible in and are exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, natural hazards, and conflict. It further investigates the various actors that respond to and are involved in conflict and disaster at the local, national, and international level, and analyzes how actors such as governments, corporations, NGOs and international organizations mitigate or exacerbate populations’ vulnerability. This course encourages students to apply theory to practice, such as through case studies and simulations.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the ways in which climate change, disaster, and conflict are interlinked and influence one another.

  • Identify and compare key challenges in disaster governance in countries across the world.

  • Apply concepts and theory to real world policy questions.

  • Analyze how political, social, and economic factors influence disaster impact and governance and identify the relationship between disaster impacts, conflict, and inequalities.

  • Draft a policy memo and develop and present policy guidance to different audiences.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught in seminar format. Active participation by students and an interactive teaching style are central to the course.

Study load: 140 hours

Attendance Policy
Attendance is mandatory, subject to course structure (see syllabus for details).

Assessment method

In-class participation: 20%
Mid-term paper: 40%
Policy memo and presentation: 40%

You can find more information about the assignments, including details about submission deadlines, on Brightspace.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Passed partial grades obtained in the academic year 2023-2024 remain valid during the academic year 2024-2025.

  • Should a student fail the overall course, s/he can complete the course in the next academic year. In cases of exceptional circumstances, a student may apply to the board of examiners for a resit to complete the course in the same academic year.

Reading list

Journal articles, book chapters, manuscripts, academic research papers, policy reports


The programme will register the students in Usis based on the group division. Use Brightspace for course information.


Dr. Valerie de Koeijer


  • This course is an elective designed for MIRD students.

  • This elective is conditional on at least 5 students registering for this course.

  • Second year students have priority for the registration to this course.