International and national policies include initiatives and plans to promote climate change adaptation, which is the reduction of risks posed by climatic change impacts. Several of these policies are typical top-down, as, for instance, those promoted by the United Nations. However, climate change impacts are manifested locally and adaptation actions need to be taken at local level with benefits for local communities.

Without a proper understanding of the characteristics of local governance and society, climate change adaptation is doomed to fail, with consequent economic, environmental and human costs. Using the literatures on risk governance and securitisation, this project uncovers how climate change adaptation can be framed through risk governance thinking, with a focus on accommodating everyday risks, or through securitisation dynamics, by which extraordinary measures and particular actors are required.

While the securitisation of climate change is well-documented at national and international levels, the way securitisation affects local level governance and adaptation is much less known. The project will reveal opportunities for complementary between international, national and local adaptation efforts, by pinpointing positive (shared understandings and coherent action) and negative (conflicting perspectives and local disempowerment) dynamics. Knowledge-based policy results will inform more effective risk decision making at all levels of governance and will offer a nuanced picture of what kinds of transformational changes in climate change adaptation are most suitable for local communities.


  • Stockholm University
  • Stockholm Environment Institute
  • University of Utrecht.