Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson

Senior Researcher at UNU-EHS and University of Sussex, University of Sussex

Dr. Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson researches (im)mobility decisions, health and wellbeing in the context of environmental stress and climatic changes. She is a senior researcher at UNU-EHS, which she joined in 2013 to manage the Gibika research-to-action project in collaboration with ICCCAD and MRF. Her research in Bangladesh combined quantitative and qualitative methods such as Q, survey design, storytelling methodology, personal life history interviews and discourse analysis with the aim to further develop anthropological research approaches that support the interaction with people facing climatic stress, while exploring alternative ways to communicate research findings through mediums of photography, visual communication and photo films. She is also a part of WG1 and WG2 in the Lancet Countdown initiative that is tracking the connections between climate change and public health until 2030.


  • 2015–present
    Associate tutor, University of Sussex / IDS
  • 2018–present
    Senior research associate, UNU-EHS
  • 2013–2018
    Gibika Project Manager, UNU-EHS


  • 2018 
    University of Sussex and IDS (UK), PhD in Development Studies
  • 2011 
    Stockholm University (Sweden) and Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil), B.Sc. International Relations
  • 2009 
    Gotland University (Sweden), M.A. Ethnology (Culture Studies)
  • 2009 
    Södertörn University (Sweden), B.A. European Studies (Ethnology)


  • 2018
    The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come, Lancet
  • 2018
    Environmental migrants, climate ‘refugees’ and sun-seeking expats: capturing the larger context of migration in a changing climate through appropriate and effective behavioural research, Routledge handbook of environmental displacement and migration
  • 2018
    The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health, Lancet
  • 2018
    A discursive review of the textual use of ‘trapped’ in environmental migration studies: The conceptual birth and troubled teenage years of Trapped Populations, Ambio
  • 2017
    The Lancet countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change, Lancet
  • 2016
    A people-centred perspective on climate change, environmental stress, and livelihood resilience in Bangladesh, Sustainability Science