What are global and diffuse risks? How should we think about their potential to turn into threats that overwhelm societal resilience in areas of limited statehood, precipitating violent conflict and governance breakdown? This working paper explores these questions in two sequential steps. First, it shows that existing explanations at the onset of violent conflict and governance breakdown remain focused on local conditions and immediate “bad neighbourhood” effects, neglecting global and diffuse risks. In a highly interconnected and interdependent world such neglect represents a fundamental omission with substantial theoretical and policymaking costs. Global and diffuse risks must be conceptualized, evaluated, and systematically integrated into predictive models, preparedness-efforts, and resilience-building strategies. Secondly, it articulates and explores a five-cluster typology of global and diffuse risks. It is only by taking global and diffuse risks seriously as explanatory variables at the onset of violent conflict and governance breakdown that the EU can make genuine progress in developing a long-term resilience-building strategy.