Increasing disasters and climate change pose serious challenges to sustainable development, challenging the division of tasks between actors when managing and adapting to such events. While city administrations play a key role in governing climate change and associated impacts, their effectiveness directly relates to citizens’ behavior and level of engagement.

The interdependencies between citizens and municipalities in disaster and climate governance are complex and manifold. They relate not only to citizens’ legal responsibility to protect their property, but also to individual actions that can increase (or reduce) society’s climate resilience. They also relate to citizens’ support for (or hindrance of) public adaptation, and associated social dilemmas. Society’s climate resilience is ultimately determined by the interplay of public policy and actions undertaken by a range of private actors, including individuals and households.

Despite this situation, little is known about citizen–municipality linkages and cooperation for managing risks, and how they can assist in moving more sustainable transformation. At the same time, existing research indicates that there are considerable differences in both institutional and individual responses to disasters and climate change in so-called Southern and Northern cities, with great potential for mutual learning.

Against this background, and under the auspice of the Academic Collaboration Forum

Chile-Sweden, our aim is to:

  • Systematically assess the differences in citizen involvement in risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Chile and Sweden.
  • On this basis, identify lessons that can be translated into an improved distributed governance system, where individual and institutionalized responses support (rather than hinder) each other. (-Institutional mainstreaming)