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Project CLImate Change hydro-COnflicts and human security

CLICO is a three year research project funded by the European Commission. It takes an innovative multidisciplinary approach to fill knowledge gaps over the social dimensions of climate change.

In particular, the project is investigating whether hydro-climatic hazards such as droughts and floods exacerbate social tensions, intra- and inter-state conflicts in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Sahel, or if they provide a catalyst for cooperation and peace.

Eleven cases of hydro-conflicts will be studied ranging from Niger, Sudan, the Jordan and Nile basins to Cyprus, Italy and the Sinai desert. A large dataset – the first of its kind – of hydro-conflicts in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Sahel will be regressed against climatic, hydrological and socio-economic variables.



CLICO Partner Organizations

The CLICO project, lead by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology   (ICTA),   Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, mobilizes 14 research teams from Europe, North Africa, Sahel and the Middle East and brings together for the first time some of the world’s leading researchers in water resource, vulnerability, and peace and security studies:

  • ICTA (Autonomous University of Barcelona ), Spain (project coordinator)  
  • UNU-EHS , Bonn, Germany
  • Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research , University of East Anglia, U.K.  
  • ECOLOGIC GmbH Institute for International und European Environment Policy, Germany  
  • Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW), International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), Norway
  • The Hebrew University of Jerusalem , Department of Geography , Israel  
  • Suez Canal University , Egypt  
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology , Zurich, Switzerland
  • The Cyprus Institute , Republic of Cyprus  
  • School of Global Studies , University of Sussex, U.K.
  • Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development  
  • Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals , Barcelona, Spain
  • Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization , Brussels, Belgium  
  • Addis Ababa University , Ethiopia

Project number n/a
Acronym CLICO
Geographical coverage Ethiopia, Belgium, Palestine, Cyprus, Switzerland, Egypt, Israel, Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain
Budget (in €) 0
Programme EU-FP7
Web site

Key goals

CLICO pursues the following two objectives:

  • To understand and model the relationships between hydro-climatic hazards, climate change vulnerability, human security and conflict, on the basis of theoretically-informed, comparative empirical research.
  • To map international and national policies for security and adaptation in water resources and hazard management, and develop a policy model for security against hydro-climatic hazards (“hydro-security”) in the region, applicable to the UN, EU and national states.


The role of UNU-EHS in CLICO

Within the CLICO project UNU-EHS main tasks are, amongst others, to participate in the creation of the CLICO conceptual framework and the protocol for case studies that will frame case-study research design as well as in the development of an integrated theory on threats to security from climate change impacts on hydrological systems. In that regard UNU-EHS will also conduct two in-depth field research-based hydro-conflict case studies, one in Egypt, focusing on the Metropolitan Region of Alexandria and another one in Tahoua Region of Niger.

Research focuses on the linkages between water resources degradation and/or pressures, environmental and social vulnerability and, migration, all potentially leading to social tensions and (violent) conflicts. Moreover formal and informal structures of water governance in the case study areas will be analysed and assessed with particular focus on their adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change and their dispute settlement mechanisms and against national and international legal frameworks.  

Project outcomes

Visit the download area to access all material published during the project!

  1. UNU-EHS

Climate change, hydro-conflicts and human security (CLICO) project: download area

CLICO, that´s: 11 in-depth case studies of human security in regions vulnerable to water hazards in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Sahel

Project flyer

Synthesis Report

Synthesis report: Climate change, water conflicts and human security: Regional assessment and policy guidelines for the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Sahel

Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 1: Climate change, hydro-conflicts and human security: achievements of and gaps in current policies

Policy Brief 2: Policy-making in the face of climate change, water conflicts and human security

Policy Brief 3: Will states see more water conflicts as the climate changes? 

Policy Brief 4: Climate change, water conflicts and human security in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Sahel 

Case study: Niger

1. Case study protocol

This report outlines the hydro-security profile for the CLICO Niger case study. It provides an analysis of the climate change and water hazards in the Sahel and the Tahoua region of study in Niger (droughts and floods), and relates these to the socio-political and institutional context of the region. Based on this information the authors explain how the region’s vulnerabilities impact conflict and cooperation and provide a scenario case of future hydro-security for the years 2031–2050. The report concludes with recommendations of institutional adaptation appropriate to bring about greater peace and cooperation in Niger.

Case study protocol: Niger case study

2. In-depth assessment of selected policies in Niger

This document presents an in-depth assessment of selected policies in Niger. Using the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) evaluation criteria, the authors have evaluated the Water Code, Pastoral Code and the National Action Program for Combating Desertification and for Natural Resource Management or PAN-LCD/GRN , all of which are policies relevant to the broader CLICO project. Following a social and legal approach, the study reveals conceptual strengths coupled with weaknesses in enforcement of the rural policies, as well as broader dependencies in relation to the PAN-LCD/GRN.   

In-depth assessment of selected policies in Niger 

Period [01/01/2010 - 31/12/2012]