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Food Insecurity, Conflict, and Social Justice in an Era of Climate Change


Admission requirements

This course is part of Sustainability, Climate Change and Food and therefore only accessible to students enrolled in that Minor.


This course will provide a holistic picture of the interrelated issues of food insecurity, conflict, and social justice issues. Lack of food has been the source of many past and recent conflicts but conflicts in general are often approached from a symptomatic rather than a holistic perspective. Food insecurity has been a factor behind outbreaks of social unrest or worse (e.g. War in Syria), yet conflict also has been a cause of food insecurity (e.g. War in Ukraine). The world is facing big challenges in providing adequate food to an increasing population. There is a growing competition for land and water and increasing prices of food affect social stability. On the other hand, conflicts lead to volatile prices. Climate change and environmental pressures are seriously affecting the issue of food insecurity and adding up to the issue of mass displacement of people and large migrations. Conflict is more likely in circumstances of extreme marginalization to which environmental degradation is contributing. This course will introduce the concept of food insecurity as a source of social unrest and a severe conflict and how improving food security can potentially reduce risk of an outbreak of conflict. The course will also examine how conflict can exacerbate food insecurity and how the food insecurity can be addressed in conflict-affected societies with fragile economies but also more developed economies where poverty is increasing and there is a growing phenomenon of hunger (e.g. children cantinas in Japan). We will start with defining the issues linking food security and conflict (scarce resources and lack of available food of appropriate quality, access by people to adequate resources for acquiring appropriate food on regular basis, relationship of food and conflict to adequate sanitation, clean water, and health care, resilience, and adequate systemic measures to reduce instability during sudden shocking events. Addressing these issues is commonly through humanitarian aid but food aid usually does not lead to long-term stability and in some cases can do more harm than good.

Course Objectives

  • Understand natural, economic and political causes and triggers of conflict in relation to food (in)security

  • Understand about the issues linking food security and conflict (availability, access, utilization, and stability)

  • Understand how food aid is related to conflict in humanitarian emergencies and explore how food security can be strengthened in fragile and conflict-affected places


TBA; information will be published before May 2023.

Mode of instruction

Lecture-based and engagement with our immediate environments.

Assessment Method

Creative practical assignment

  • 30 % of final grade

  • Grade must be 5,5 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit of a fail is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Final exam – combination of multiple choice and open questions

  • 70% of final grade

  • Grade must be 5,5 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit of a fail is possible

  • Resit will take the same form

Reading list

The readings will be indicated in the syllabus. They will all be available via the university’s library or provided directly by the instructor.


Registration starts early May. Additional information TBA.