Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility

The Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility brings together scholars, practitioners and stakeholders, to contribute to policy and regulatory questions associated with climate change related displacement as it impacts this region. By drawing on the Nordic experience, and putting this into a context of global trends, the Network highlights a specifically Nordic angle which will contribute to questions of immediate relevance to the governance of a global challenge.

Houses by the water

Research into climate change and migration from a legal and policy perspective is in its fledgling stages in the Nordic region with only a few researchers focused specifically on the issue, and more working at its edges, but without a central hub to coordinate those efforts. This is the gap that the Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility fills.


The Nordic Network on Climate Displacement and Mobility welcomes abstracts for its conference “Disaster Displacement and the Nordic Region” to be held 23 August 2024 at the University of Copenhagen.  Disaster displacement both into and within the Nordic Region encompasses a broad range of phenomena and unique hazards. These vary from planned relocation for communities at risk, changes to Indigenous peoples’ hunting and herding practices, legal claims for international protection by people who come from outside the region, as well as Nordic approaches to projects that minimize climate and disaster-related displacement elsewhere. Academic and policy responses to disaster displacement within the Nordic Region have so far been ad hoc and limited, yet Nordic engagement with the issue at the international level has been somewhat more pronounced.

This Conference seeks to build on the work of the Nordic Network and establish the groundwork for a new interdisciplinary research agenda for the Region. To that end it welcomes abstracts that both focus on the region and also draw comparisons with approaches taken elsewhere.  The conference will launch “Nordic Approaches to Climate-Related Human Mobility” co-edited by Miriam Cullen and Matthew Scott, and broaden the discussions on which the book is based, which began in workshops held in 2021 and 2022.

Abstract submission

Abstracts should be submitted via this website, by 1 May 2024 and include:

  • The name, contact details, current position and affiliation of the person(s) making the submission
  • An abstract of maximum 500-words.
  • A 2-page CV.

Early-career and Indigenous scholars are particularly encouraged to contribute. Selected participants will be notified by 30 May 2024.

Logistics and financial support

The conference is funded in part by Dreyers Fond and is organized by the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. Some funding is available to cover transport, accommodation and meals for a small number of participants. Please state in your submission if you wish to apply for such support as well as where you would be travelling from, and estimated travel costs. Note that funding for travel and accommodation is primarily directed towards scholars and practitioners based in the Nordic region (including Greenland).


Academic discussion of the legal and policy response to climate related human mobility has paid particular attention to whether the existing international, regional and national legal regimes adequately protect threatened communities. Understandably, that research has tended to focus on law and policy in the places where people are especially vulnerable to climate-related harm: the Global South. The consequence of this, however, that important questions remain for the Nordic region including how climate change might impact human mobility, and, relatedly, what legal and policy options might offer the most effective responses. This Network was established to address this research and policy gap.

The unique biophysical, legal and socio-political characteristics of the region justify independent attention. The impact of climate change in the Nordic region is both important and unique. Intense rainfall combined with faster than usual snowmelt increases the frequency of rock falls, debris flows and avalanches in mountainous areas. Flat plains are likely to suffer from a greater frequency and intensity of rainfall causing flash flooding, and an increase in storm surges can be expected to impact north-western Europe, including Denmark, while summer wildfires in Sweden are becoming increasingly regular. Climate change also disrupts fragile ecosystems in the Nordic Arctic Region, including the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. The resultant imbalance in biodiversity and weather cycles have corollary impacts on human populations and contribute to existing pressures on indigenous life and livelihoods.

At the same time, the Nordic region has seen a 16% increase in population from 1990 to 2017, primarily from net migration (Nordic Council of Ministers 2018). The number of people moving into the region intensified in 2015-2016 when the entire European region experienced a surge in people seeking international protection. During this time, Sweden and Finland had legislation that extended refugee-type protection for ‘environmental catastrophe’ (Swedish Aliens Act 4 kap 2a §; Aliens Act (Finland) s 109(1)). However, both countries suspended these laws amidst the swell of new migrants. That laws were introduced but later repealed serves to highlight that there is a need for research-based policy to ensure Nordic preparedness for the inevitable future climate change related human mobility.






Interdisciplinary Workshop on Climate Related Mobility in the Nordic Region

On 8 and 9 December 2022, the Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility held its second workshop entitled “Climate Related Mobility in the Nordic Region: Internal and International Dimensions” in Lund, Sweden. The purpose of the workshop was to continue and broaden discussions initiated in an earlier workshop and convene a select group of scholars interested in contributing to an edited volume. With generous support from the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS), the workshop was organised by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute together with the University of Copenhagen.

The 2-day workshop prompted dynamic engagement with various narratives around, as well as concrete responses to climate related mobility in the Nordic context. Participating scholars presented both empirical and theoretical research, with most contributions addressing two overarching questions, namely: 

  • What does “climate related mobility” mean in the Nordic region?
  • How have Nordic countries responded to such mobility?

The highly interdisciplinary group consisting of international lawyers, political scientists, geographers and experts in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation helped to draw out the complexity of the issue.

Read more in the blog post - Interdisciplinary Workshop on Climate Related Mobility in the Nordic Region (pdf)




The Network held a previous workshop on 16 September 2021 with contributions from different disciplines and perspectives from across the Nordic region and abroad. The agenda for the workshop appears here (pdf).

The videos below are two key interventions recorded on the day. The first is Robin Bronen, Executive Director at the Alaska Institute for Justice, in discussion on best practices for planned relocation in the context of climate change in Alaska for Indigenous Peoples. The second is from Ben France-Hudson, Principal Analyst, New Zealand Ministry for the Environment, who outlines how planned relocation is being approached under new climate adaptation policy and legislative measures under development.

Indigenous peoples, climate change and community relocation in Alaska: Discussion with Robin Bronen

Ben France-Hudson: New Zealands Proposed Climate Adaptation Act Recording

Our next workshop will be held in 2022. Monitor this website for news and the call for papers. In the meantime we are preparing an edited volume on approaches to climate change related displacement and mobility in the Nordic region, please be in touch if you are interested to contribute.


Contributors to the Nordic Network are now putting together an edited volume as an output from the two workshops entitled “Nordic Approaches to Climate-Related Human Mobility” which, with generous funding from Dreyers Fond Denmark, will be published open access in 2024. If you wish to be notified of its release, please email



The Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility was established in late-2019 with funding provided by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS). The funding supports two workshops which will be held over the course of 2020-2023, with further funding being sought to extend the life of the Network beyond the grant period and to support other relevant events.







Internal researchers

Name Title Phone E-mail
Miriam Cullen Associate Professor +4535323336 E-mail

External researchers


NOS-HS - Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility  has received funding from NOS-HS - Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Climate refugees’ in the Nordic region: legal and policy responses to new patterns of human mobility (CLaREFi)
(Application number  328665)

Period: 01-01-2020 – 30-06-2023

The project is still active after the end of the funding period.


Miriam CullenPI Associate Professor
Miriam Cullen

South Campus, Building 6A-4-12
DK 2300 Copenhagen S
Phone: +45 35 32 33 36