Mistra Geo: Sustainable Development in a Changing Geopolitical Era 

The overall goal of Mistra Geopolitics is to critically explore the interaction between geopolitics, security and global climate and environmental change. In a world characterized by growing uncertainties, the program will be able to contribute with new knowledge while demonstrating opportunities created by innovation and technological development in a number of areas.

The broad nature of the challenge requires an inter-disciplinary approach. The program brings together diverse disciplines and research approaches spanning peace and conflict; human security; global environmental governance; global environmental change; and the effectiveness of domestic, regional, and global policy-making. The research is organized in five work packages. Our research team contributes to work package 3 on national and global governance responses to climate risks. This work package will examine how, why and with what consequences global governance systems are able to respond to processes of geopolitics and environmental degradation, and the conditions under which these responses are legitimate and effective. Work package leader for Stockholm University: Lisa Dellmuth. Project participants: Maria-Therese Gustafsson, Karin Bäckstrand, Andreas Duit, Ece Kural, Sanna Lundquist, Joakim Palme, and Anton Ahlén. 


Climate change, natural disasters, and human responses

This research project focuses on how, when and why IOs respond to extreme weather events. How have IO responses to such events developed over time (specifically before and after the cold war)? Why do some events lead to more ambitious global governance responses than others? Are disaster responses primarily a function of the severity and type of the disaster, or rather of saliency in the public debate, civil society or member states engagement, or IO capacity? The project is funded by the Bolin Centre and Board of Environmental Research members in the Human Sciences from 2018-2019. Principal investigators are Frida Bender and Lisa Dellmuth.


Extracting justice? Exploring the role of FPIC and consultation, and compensation related to socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America

The aim of the project is to study the nature and outcome of prior consultation and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) processes, and ask if they contribute to the prevention and resolution of resource conflicts, and if they strengthen or weaken affected peoples’ democratic participation and rights to self-determination. These research questions will be addressed in a series of sub-projects, which will be carried out in four different Latin American countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru). Principal investigator is Maria-Therese Gustafsson.


Non-state actors in the new landscape of international climate cooperation

At a time when the UN climate negotiations appear to be making little progress, non-state initiatives on climate change are thriving. Furthermore, while increasing numbers of people from governments and civil society organisations attend the negotiations and the latter’s importance is formally being emphasized, their access to the negotiations is increasingly being restricted. The project examines the interface between the intergovernmental negotiating process and transnational business, environmental NGO, local government and indigenous peoples’ organisation networks. First, it will study the governance functions of non-state actors in multilateral climate diplomacy. Secondly, the project examines the role that UN climate conferences grants to non-state actors and their transnational activities. Methods employed in this research will include surveys, interviews, case studies and document analysis. Finally, the project will explore the implications of its findings for intergovernmental diplomacy, transnational governance and global democracy, focusing in particular on concepts of authority, accountability and transparency. The project is a collaboration between Linköping University, Stockholm University and University of East Anglia. It is funded by the Swedish Research Council and Formas 2014-2016. Principal investigator is Karin Bäckstrand.


Earth System Governance Project 

Earth System Governance — a global research alliance, is the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change. The Earth System Governance research alliance takes up the challenge of exploring political solutions and novel, more effective governance mechanisms to cope with the current transitions in the biogeochemical systems of the planet. The normative context of this research is sustainable development; earth system governance is not only a question of institutional effectiveness, but also of political legitimacy and social justice.