Climate change and migration: report of the Transatlantic study team

Climate change and migration: report of the Transatlantic study team

Environmental drivers of human mobility

Environmental change is one of a larger set of factors that affect human migration and displacement worldwide. Climate change and variability will particularly affect migration in and from highly vulnerable areas like low-lying islands and deltas, coastal areas, areas dependent on glacial-fed water systems and areas subject to persistent drought. Most environmentally induced migrants will move within the borders of their own countries or to nearby countries. Only a small portion is likely to relocate to more distant countries.

The document stresses that policymakers need to take a holistic approach to this emerging issue which addresses both the drivers in origin areas (e.g., livelihood insecurity, environmental hazards, conflict, demographic pressures, gender inequality, etc.) and the pull factors in destinations (e.g., demand for labor, aging of the population).

To prepare, it is recommended that policymakers should:

  • foster adaptation policies that, when possible, help people stay through sustainable rural and urban development, and, when necessary, help people migrate in safety and dignity;
  • involve the diaspora in designing and funding adaptation strategies that enable their home countries and communities to cope with climate change; support disaster risk reduction and conflict mediation strategies while strengthening humanitarian responses; and
  • identify guiding principles, effective practices and institutional frameworks to help governments develop appropriate laws, policies and programs to address migration induced by climate change and variability.
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