Security Cluster

The optimism for a lasting peace born out of the end of the Cold War has, less than 30 years later, subsided, as we enter a period of uncertainty and concern in what the UN has labelled “a new era of conflict and violence”.

The threats to human security have never been so wide-ranging. Together with the “old”, traditional notions of security that focus solely on external military aggressions, the “new” threats to human security encompass many different forms of conflict and violence, such as terrorism, ethnic violence, human trafficking, deep and sudden economic and financial downturns, chronic poverty, natural resources and shortages, and technological advances giving rise to cyberattacks and hacking.

Exacerbating these threats is the increasingly turbulent international landscape, with the new unipolar world order giving rise to a fear of geopolitical competition and potential conflict, and the multilateral order that has underpinned previous decades under strain like never before, with some regional security organisations facing accusations of being “obsolete” at worst and requiring significant reform at best.

As the world has globalised so have these threats, which is why the Security Cluster at UNU-CRIS studies how regional organisations, and their security counterparts, can address these modern security challenges. Funding of proxies on the battlefield, trafficking networks, cyberattacks, these examples and many other threats to human security are not bound by national borders, and require coordinated efforts at the supranational level to mitigate them.

Current streams of research within the security cluster include:

  • Regional cybersecurity governance
  • Migration – terrorism nexus


The Formulation of Cybersecurity Policies in Regional Organisations: Space for Manoeuvre?

  • Researchers: Charlotte van Wieren, Jamal Shahin
  • Funding: UNU-CRIS
    • 1 November 2020 – 31 January 2021

An Analysis of the Heterogeneity in Migration Responses Depending on the Type, Intensity, and Localisation of These Events and the Study of the Determinants of Return Migration Decision

  • Researcher: Killian Foubert
  • Supervisor: Ilse Ruyssen
  • Funding: Ghent University
    • 30th January 2018 – 30 January 2022

Completed Projects

EU-GRASP: The EU as a Global-Regional Actor in Security and Peace

  • Researchers: Luk Van Langenhove, Philippe De Lombaerde, Francis Baert, Emmanuel Fanta and Tania Felicio
  • Partners: University of Warwick (United Kingdom (UK), University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Florence Forum on the Problems of Peace and War (Italy), KULeuven (Belgium), Centre for International Governance Innovation (Canada), Peking University (China), Institute for Security Studies (South Africa) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel).
  • Funding:  Seventh Framework Programme/FP7 (European Commission), 2009-2012

Book Project on The EU and Multilateral Security Governance

  • Editors: Sonia Lucarelli, Luk Van Langenhove and Jan Wouters, Routledge, 2012.

Book Project on The Future of Human Security Protection in Africa

  • Editor: Ademola Abass, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Book Project on Langs de Vuurlijn. De Verenigde Naties en Gewapende Conflicten

  • Editors: Francis Baert, Ann Pauwels and Stefaan Smis, Acco, 2010.

Book Project on Regional Security: The Capacity of International Organizations

  • Editor: Rodrigo Tavares, Routledge, 2009

Special Issue on Regional Organizations

  • Editors: Fredrik Söderbaum and Rodrigo Tavares, African Security, 2009.

Capacity Survey: Regional and Other Intergovernmental Organizations in the Maintenance of Peace and Security

  • Researchers: Rodrigo Tavares, Francis Baert, Emmanuel Fanta, Tania Felicio and Maximilian Rasch,
  • Funding: UNU-CRIS, 2008

Book Project on Promoting Conflict or Peace through Identity

  • Editor: Nikki Slocum-Bradley, Ashgate, 2008.

Book project on Uniting Africa: Building Regional Security Systems

  • Editor: David Francis, Ashgate, 2006.

Book project on Regional Security and Global Governance: A Study of Interaction between Regional Agencies and the UN Security Council with a Proposal for a Regional-Global Security Mechanism

  • Editors: Kennedy Graham and Tania Felicio, VUB University Press, 2006.