Climate Change, Hydro-conflicts and Human Security (CLICO)

Led by Halvard Buhaug
Feb 2010 - Feb 2013

Climate Change, Hydro-Conflicts and Human Security (CLICO) is an EU-funded, international and cross-disciplinary research project. 14 research institutions contribute to the project (CLICO website). It addresses the lack of scientific evidence and peer reviewed research on the threats to security posed by climate change. Despite increasing appreciation of the fact that the earth is undergoing dramatic climatic changes, we have but little knowledge of socio-economic stressors interacting with climate change. As policy-makers face new challenges when dealing with the impacts of climate change on vulnerability and security, CLICO studies one of the regions that are most exposed and vulnerable floods and droughts; The Mediterranean, Middle East and Sahel. The project aims:


i)         "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”, and

ii)         “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”.


In order to meet these objectives, CLICO will deliver:


i)          “An integrated theory of climate change impacts, security and conflict”,

ii)         “An in-depth analysis of hydro-security hot-spots in a variety of geographical and socio-economic contexts”,

iii)        “A map with cooperative and conflictive water events in the countries of the study region in the period 1997-2009”,

iv)        "A regression analysis-based identification of the drivers of domestic water conflicts and the factors that determine intra-state hydro-security”,

v)         "An inventory of international and national policies dealing with responses to climate change, water resources management, responses to hazards and disasters and security in the region”,

vi)        “A proposal for a suitable policy framework to integrate security, climate change adaptation and water management issues and specific recommendations for policy streamlining at the UN, EU and national levels”,

vii)       "An evaluation of the adaptive capacity of institutions in the shared, international basins in the study region", and

viii)      "A content analysis-based assessment of the ways in which climatic uncertainties are (or are not) taken into account in international water treaties”.



PRIO’s part in the CLICO project involves developing a dataset mapping cooperative and conflictive water-related events in the region’s countries in the period 1997-2009. This is done in collaboration with Thomas Bernauer, Tobias Böhmelt and Theresa Tribaldos from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich (ETHZ). To date, there is no event-dataset covering water-related cooperation and conflict at the intra-state level. This dataset will make possible quantitative research into the drivers of diffusion and escalation of water-related conflict and cooperation at the domestic level. Applications of this dataset can provide relevant policy-makers with information crucial to understanding the processes and dynamics of water scarce societies.

The data material is based on approximately 78,000 news items downloaded from BBC Monitoring. These news items are transcriptions of local radio and television broadcasts and newspapers from the countries in question, made publicly accessible by BBC Monitoring. Coders at PRIO and ETHZ are in the process of coding water-related events, noting geographical information, event-specific information and information about the original news source. The crucial variable in the dataset is the ‘Water Event Scale’. This is a 13-category ordinal scale, ranging from -6 to 6, indicating the level of conflict or cooperation in the event.

An article describing this dataset is under development and will be presented at the International Studies Association’s 51st Annual Convention in March 2011 (Bernauer, Böhmelt, Buhaug, Gleditsch, Tribaldos, Weibust & Wischnath, 2011). PRIO and ETHZ will also apply this dataset in a large-N statistical study of the causes of intra-state water conflict.




CLICO Project website:



Research Groups


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Böhmelt, Tobias; Thomas Bernauer; Halvard Buhaug; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Theresa Tribaldos & Gerdis Wischnath (2014) Demand, Supply, and Restraint: Determinants of Domestic Water Conflict and Cooperation, Global Environmental Change 29: 337–348.
Bernauer, Thomas; Tobias Böhmelt; Halvard Buhaug; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Theresa Tribaldos; Eivind Berg Weibust & Gerdis Wischnath (2012) Water-Related Intrastate Conflict and Cooperation (WARICC): A New Event Dataset, International Interactions 38(4): 529–545.