Tag Archives: IOM

Migration as climate adaptation: from coping strategy to policy?

We were very pleased to be invited to present at the International Organization for Migration’s consultations in Geneva last week. This event was designed to give a voice to civil society organisations working on migration and displacement. We spoke in the session specifically on climate change and migration – and we focused our presentation on the emerging idea of migration as a form of climate change adaptation.

The key points we made were:

  • Migration is increasingly becoming a way that some communities adapt to climate change impacts. Regardless of the policy debate, people are already using migration as a coping strategy.
  • We argued that there are several measures that could enable more people to use migration as a way of adapting to a changing climate. Key among these is education in rural areas. This could enable people to leave badly hit agricultural areas and seek work in other locations.
  • We also pointed to several challenges that the idea of migration as adaptation presents. We organised these roughly into issues faced by sending communities and issues faced by migrants.
  • For example when people leave a household, this can move important responsibilities – such as child care – onto other household members. This could result in older members of the household having to care for children. Or children bearing more responsibility for younger children, which could affect their education.
  • We therefore made the case that as migration as adaptation becomes a matter of policy, projects must not ignore the people who are left behind.
  • We further made the case that people who move as an adaptive response to climate change may not face fundamentally different challenges to other kinds of migrants. For example as people move from rural areas to cities, they may face issues such as poor housing, exploitation by employers and poor access to services.
  • Again, we made the case that as migration as adaptation become a matter of policy – rather than an ad-hoc coping strategy – additional efforts must be made to combat the challenges faced by migrants moving into cities.

Dhaka - a growing city. Climate and Migration

A short video of our presentation will be available soon.

Alex Randall is the project manager of the Climate Change and Migration Coalition. He is author of a number of the Coalition’s reports, as well as numerous blogs and comment pieces.

Image: Richard P J Lambert, (CC BY-NC 2.0) Flickr

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Podcast and briefing paper: climate and migration – how are they linked?

In December we worked with IOM and COMPAS to put on the event Climate change and migration: how are they linked? A Podcast of the event is now available online.

Dina Ionesco (IOM) and Alex Randall (COIN / UKCCMC) discuss some of the key issues around migration and climate change. Dina initially lays out some of the key facts about the relationship between climate and migration. Alex then explores some of emerging research trends and how civil society groups can respond to these.

The briefing paper provides a summary of the key areas covered by the podcast and the event.

From the briefing paper:

Recent research has reshaped our understanding of the relationship between climate change and the movement of people. It is now clear that climate change may be influencing the movement of people in ways that have not previously been understood.

  • People may be using migration as a way of adapting to environmental stress.
  • Climate change may also be reducing people’s ability to move, trapping vulnerable populations in high risk areas.
  • Climate change is one among many forces that shape patterns of movement, and cannot be considered in isolation.

Alex Randall coordinates the UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition. He is author several reports on migration and climate change. He writes regularly on migration, displacement and climate change for a number of outlets.


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IOM launch quarterly on environmental migration

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) launched the first edition of their new quarterly newsletter on environmental migration this week. Keen to position themselves at the centre of the international response, the agency announce several new policy and programmatic interventions for 2012. Including a welcome stream of work on adaptation and development planning.

Despite growing recognition that environmental change will increase the need for people to move within and across borders to survive and thrive the international community are reluctant to commit to action. No international institution has an express responsibility to address concerns. But individual governments and agencies are stirring. Each conference, project or bilateral agreement negotiated is already shaping the response space. And on an issue that demands the attention of not just migration but humanitarian, development, human rights, environment and protection expertise we must hope that other agencies and forward looking governments step up.

You can download the first edition here: ICP Environmental Migration Newsletter Spring edition 1 2012 (2)

More information on IOM’s programme of work on envrionmental migration can be found here: http://www.iom.int/envmig

Blog Author: Hannah Smith. All views expressed are the authors own.

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Round up: research, news and events from the last week

Reports and research

The Impact of Global Climate Change and Local Environmental Stress on Migration in Nang Rong, Thailand by Jacqueline Meijer-Irons, Benjamin Chabot-Hanowell, Sara Curran and Matthew Dunbar for the University of Washington.

Human Mobility and Climate Change Adaptation Policy: A Review of Migration in National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) by Jon Sward and Samuel Codjoe for Migrating out of Poverty RPC, University of Sussex.

Climate Change and Fragile States: Rethinking Adaptation edited by Mohamed Hamza and Cosmin Corendea, Source Publication Series of UNU-EHS No. 16/2012.

Human rights law, refugee and migration law and environmental law: exploring their contributions in the context of environmental migration by Michèle Morel for Environmental Governance and Sustainability [Book] IUCN Academy Environmental Law Series.

Upcoming events

24-25 April GENEVA Moving to safety: Migration consequences of complex crises Intersessional Workshop, International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) 2012, IOM.

26 April (8.30-10.30am) LONDON Report Launch: People and the Planet: the role of global population in sustainable development. The Royal Society

Past events

Podcast: Addressing the Legal Gaps in Climate Change Migration, Displacement and Resettlement: From Sinking Islands to Flooded Deltas from a Brookings-LSE project on Internal Displacement Event held on the 3rd April.

News and commentary

Commentary: Much Ado About Conflict? Climate’s Links to Violence Re-examined by Nils Petter Gleditsch and Responses to JPR Climate and Conflict Special Issue by Solomon Hsiang (Princeton University) and Todd G. Smith (University of Texas, Austin) for New Security Beat.

Article: Water monitoring system aids Kenyan herders by Geoffrey Kamadi for AlertNet.

Blog Post: The Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons by Chaloka Beyani UN Rapporteur on rights of IDPs for USAID.

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