Climate-related displacement is one of the key challenges facing South Asia in the coming decades. This paper reviews existing research and argues that one way to frame the contributions of social science research is to explore the issues in terms of a human security approach. Within this context, social science research would aim to increase understanding of which individuals, households, communities and populations are most vulnerable to the predicted increased frequency of natural disasters and environmental degradation caused by climatic changes. There is also a need to understand the reasons for this vulnerability. Without this human security focus, it is possible that vulnerable communities will be plunged into increased poverty by ill-conceived adaptation strategies and inappropriate social protection schemes. A human security approach also highlights the importance of local knowledge and participatory, community-based approaches and partnerships for socially relevant research.