Violent conflict continues to plague many parts of the developing world, with mostly deleterious consequences for peoples and places where violence occurs. The complex relationships between organized violence and sustainable development affect the ability of states and other agencies to accomplish many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular the discussion about Goal 13 on climate change now intersects with Northern security fears and policy responses that are sometimes seriously at odds with local drivers of environmental change. Contemporary analyses warn of “backdraft” effects if inappropriate policies aggravate rather than ameliorate conflict. Unravelling these complex interconnections is one key to the effective implementation of the SDGs agenda, one that is increasingly urgent as climate change accelerates, and appropriate policies are needed to deal with context-specific disruptions in many diverse places.