It is increasingly clear that climate change has serious implications for the world’s oceans, marine life and coastal communities, and that its consequences are likely to be significant, both for those living in at-risk areas and for the wider world.

While there may be uncertainty surrounding exactly how much sea-levels are set to rise this century, what we can be sure of is that the effects of future increases will cause severe suffering in societies. What’s more, this will not be something experienced equally by all, instead hitting poorer, rural coastal areas the hardest.

As many see their homes and livelihoods destroyed by rising sea-levels and experience increasing human security challenges as a result, broader issues of security are likely to emerge. For the small island states increasingly under threat from rising sea-levels, as well as for the 70% of the most climate-vulnerable countries that are also among the most politically fragile, climate change is undeniably a matter of state and collective security.

This report examines the intersection of these themes, and is based on a virtual event, “Climate, Ocean and Security“, organized by the Stockholm Climate Security Hub. Held in November 2020, it brought together experts and agents of change for a science-policy dialogue.

Through the examination of existing evidence, the identification of knowledge gaps and the discussion of response strategies, attendees explored the consequences of sea-level rise on coastal landscapes and communities, as well as its consequences when combined with warmer temperatures, on marine territorial boundaries and resource security.