Climate and Natural Resources Cluster

Urgent action is needed to avoid climate catastrophe. Despite this, there remains a sharp disconnect between science and action, with the steps taken to address the issue criticised as not being enough to stem the escalating rise in global temperatures and a move towards a future hard to fathom that will have global consequences.

The task at hand is twofold: meet the needs of the present without compromising or hindering future generations, and develop a path for the future that rights the climate wrongs underpinning global society today. The nature and scope of the change required to avert disaster is daunting and, perhaps more than any other challenge, requires collective, cross-border, and decisive action.

How we govern our environment and natural resources, and how we build around the concept of sustainable development, will be key to overcoming this challenge. The Climate and Natural Resources Cluster aims to examine how shared natural resources should be best managed, which governance structures, at which level, are needed to implement these best practices, and what is, or could be, the role of regional organizations in environmental governance.

From deforestation in the Amazon to the damming of the Nile, the energy transition in the Middle East to the melting ice of the Arctic, the challenges we face are cross-border, and regional or even global in nature.


Current streams of research within the Climate and Natural Resources Cluster include:

  • Transnational forest governance
  • Energy transition and MENA-EU relations
  • Cross-border water governance
  • Climate-Migration-Health nexus


Transforming the forest together? Transnational cooperation on justice advocacy in the EU's Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs)”

  • PhD Fellow: Elke Verhaeghe
  • Promotors: Jan Orbie and Sarah Delputte
  • Funding: FWO
    • 1 Oct 2019 – 30 Sep 2023

The Energy Transition and the Changing Relations between the MENA and the EU

  • PhD Fellow: Reinhilde Bouckaert
  • Promotor: Claire Dupont
  • Funding: AAP Ghent University
    • 1 July 2019 - 30 June 2024

Mobility as the Human Face of Climate Change: Analysing Heterogeneity in Climate Migration and Policy Frameworks

  • PhD Fellow: Els Bekaert
  • Promotor: Ilse Ruyssen
  • Funding: BOF Ghent University (UNU-CRIS label)
    • 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2022

Investigating Water and Climate-Related Conflicts and Migration towards Engagement and Equity focused Solutions for Adaptation, Human Security and Policy Integration in Africa

  • PhD Fellow: Alix Debray
  • Promotor: Ilse Ruyssen
  • Funding: BOF Ghent University (UNU-CRIS label)
    • 1 October 2019 – 30 September 2021 (renewable)

International Thematic Network on Climate-Migration-Health (CliMigHealth)

  • Coordinator: Ilse Ruyssen
  • Partner institutes: Ghent University, UNU-CRIS, Makerere University, University of Ghana, ICRAF, University of Zambia, University of Malawi, Stellenbosch University, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, EIEE, Aarhus University, University of Göttingen, KIT Royal Tropical Institute, UNU-MERIT, UNU-EHS, UNU-INWEH, University of California, University of Queensland
  • Funding: Ghent University and partner institutes
    • 2020-2025

Completed Projects

Parliamentary Deliberation in Inter-Regional Relations (PADIRE): An Analysis of Climate Change Debates in the EU’s Parliamentary Assemblies with the ACP, the Mediterranean, Latin America and the Eastern Neighbourhood Regions

  • Researcher: Reinhilde Bouckaert
  • Promotors: Sarah Delputte and Sebastian Oberthür
  • Funding: UNU-CRIS, 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019