The Environmental Migration Portal Newsletter is produced as part of the "Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy" (MECLEP) project, funded by the European Union and IOM Development Fund (IDF), implemented by IOM.

Environmental Migration Portal Newsletter

Knowledge Platform on People on the Move in a Changing Climate
July 2015

IDMC's annual report reveals that "more than 19.3 million people were newly displaced by natural disasters in 2014. Since 2008, an average of 26.4 million people per year have been displaced from their homes by disasters brought on by natural hazards. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second."

For the first time, the report examines cases of protracted displacement including the 2010 Haiti earthquake which displaced 64,700, and the Manam Island volcano eruption in Papua New Guinea, estimated of displacing 15,000 people since 2004.

MECLEP Project Updates

[Left photo] Participants and trainers after second day of training workshop in Haiti. © IOM 2015
[Right photo]  Andrés Botero, IOM Santo Domingo, facilitates a group exercise on disasters in the Dominican Republic. © IOM 2015 

IOM and Partners Build Capacity of Policymakers on MECC
in Haiti and Dominican Republic

A European Union (EU)-funded three-day IOM training workshops on migration, environment and climate change policy took place in Haiti, from 8 to 10 July, and subsequently in the neighboring country Dominican Republic, from 13 to 15 July. The Dominican Republic training workshop was also funded by the IOM Development Fund. 

In both countries, some 25 participants from ministries, universities and civil society attended the event, which was designed to build the capacity of experts and practitioners to integrate the migration-environment nexus into policy-making. Both countries are among the world's 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change, but lack public awareness. 

The workshops precede the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21, which will take place in Paris in December this year. The Convention will address integration of human mobility into the expected Paris Agreement.

The training in Haiti was linked to the action plan of its draft national migration policy. Haiti is the first country in the region to integrate environment and climate change in its migration policy and to mainstream migration into its position on climate change negotiations. In the Dominican Republic the focus was on demystifying the term migration, which is commonly linked to Haitian immigration. This overlooks the importance of internal movements linked to environmental degradation and the country being an emigration country.

During the workshops, a Training Manual on Migration, Environment and Climate Change specifically developed for the MECLEP project was tested and validated. The manual is a facilitator’s guide providing a step-by-step roadmap on how to integrate human mobility into environmental policies, climate change and adaptation strategies. Its standardized but adaptable curriculum, which integrates group discussions and exercises, is based on state-of-the-art migration and environment knowledge and practices.

This participatory training tool will be available in several languages to respond to the global demand for trained experts. Previously, IOM has conducted three regional training workshops and one national workshop on this topic since 2013. The manual will allow IOM to deliver regular workshops at the request of Member States.

The Haiti workshop was facilitated by experts from
United Nations University, Institute for the Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), partner of the MECLEP project. The Dominican Republic workshop was facilitated by MECLEP partner FLACSO Costa Rica, as well as the regional IOM office in San José and RESAMA.

The next policymaker training workshop will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, 10-12 August 2015.


Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Updates 

COST Workshop 
Human migration and the Environment: Futures, Politics, Invention

Durham University, UK. 28 June-1 July 2015. 

Barbara Bendandi (IOM) presents at the session on "Knowledge, Actors and Politics"  
© Kooj Chuhan 2015 
MECLEP partners and IOM participated in the EU-COST sponsored workshop on Human Migration and the Environment: Futures, Politics, Invention on 28 June – 1 July 2015. The forum has been the largest gatherings of academics, policymakers and practitioners on migration, climate change and the environment with over 100 delegates from across Europe and the world. The large and multidisciplinary participation to the conference proves the growing importance that the topic of migration and the environment is gaining in international discussions and policy dialogues on different aspects (economic, social, institutional, political, cultural as well as geo-physical).
The need to go beyond the common security-oriented and humanitarian approach to frame the nexus between human mobility and the environment has been widely discussed and addressed also in the three IOM presentations on:
  1. “A comparative assessment of the evidence: Knowledge, gaps, and policy choices for the future”, based on the results of the EU-funded research project, MECLEP
  2. “The Global Governance of Environmental Migration: Organizational Perspectives from the International Organization for Migration” describing IOM’s progresses in promoting the discussion at policy level and the key achievement of becoming the first organization with a dedicated structure
  3. “Understanding Vulnerability and Resilience in West Africa in the context of Land Degradation”, a KNOMAD-funded research on individual, household and community strategies to cope with environmental change based on mobility
The three-day workshop was key in sharing results and exchange on further steps for providing evidence on environmental migration and its effects. Despite the growing body of studies on the topic, it is evident that there is still a lack in reliable data and policy oriented research, which can respond to the increasing demand and reflect the needs of policymakers.

World Day to Combat Desertification 2015
Global Observance Event

Conference Centre, Milano Expo, 17 June 2015.

[Left] Mr Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism. 
[Right] Mr Giampaolo Cantini, Director General of Development Cooperation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. 
© IOM 2015 
The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD), observed annually on June 17th, highlights the importance of raising awareness on the growing risks linked to land degradation. This year, a global observance event, organized jointly by the Government of Italy and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), was held at the Expo Milan 2015 on the theme of ‘attainment of food security for all’.

Among the several issues identified, the 2015 observance day called for an improvement in land use practices through “smart” agriculture and adaptation to climate change; access to technology and land rights for small holder farmers; more investments in sustainable land practices; and more effective action on desertification.
Moreover, environmentally-induced migration was also one of the topics addressed during the 2015 WDCD: human mobility in non-industrialized countries is significantly linked to land degradation, forcing smallholders to face the issue of food security.
Mr. Giampaolo Cantini, was among the keynote speakers who drew attention to the links between environmental factors, poverty, social unrest, conflicts, and migration.

Mr. Pohamba Shifeta also highlighted the risks associated with land degradation and ensuing food insecurity, hunger, poverty, political instability, conflicts and migration. He illustrated the results of a recent study projecting the future impacts of climate change in Namibia, which may reduce pastureland from grassland to desert and arid shrub-land. 

Desertification, land degradation and drought are major drivers of forced and environmentally-induced migration. Desertification, exacerbated by climate change, can indeed threaten agriculture and livestock and impact nomadic populations, resulting in new migration patterns increasing tensions with the sedentary farmers and with the pastoralist groups.
Read about IOM and UNCCD's  joint project, “Promoting Sustainable Land Management in migration-prone areas through innovative financing mechanisms”, implemented in West Africa to engage governments and diaspora in harnessing the investments for land rehabilitation. 

TransRe International Short Course:
Does Climate Change Move You?

University of Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 22-26 June 2015.

TransRe, a practice-oriented research project based at the Department of Geography, University of Bonn, organized a short course on the impacts of climate change on migration, co-sponsored by IOM. The course brought together 15 students from diverse countries including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Greece to discuss theoretical frameworks and potential research tools that can be used to understand MECC. IOM's MECC Project Associate (Sabira Coelho) of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific attended as a resource person and presented on national and regional policy responses to MECC, and IOM’s work in the field. The Regional Office, IOM Thailand are now in the process of finalizing an exchange of letters with TransRe to enhance collaboration and cooperation in this field, particularly on policy dialogues, capacity building, training manuals and future projects. 

MECLEP Publications 
Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Papua New Guinea 

Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Papua New Guinea
In the framework of the European Union–funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project, this first national assessment brings together existing evidence on the migration, environment and climate change nexus in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The report provides a review of environmental migration materialized in local realities and compiles data from a wide variety of sources. The aim of the report is twofold. First, it provides an overview of PNG’s exposure to environmental and climatic changes, as well as the factors influencing human vulnerability. It maps the complex relationship between migration, environment and climate change, and particularly looks at two case studies of Carteret Islanders and people displaced by the volcanic eruption in Manam Island since 2004. Second, it examines the existing policy frameworks and offers guidance to integrate environmental migration in PNG’s national planning. Based on the review of the existing policy framework and the key findings, the report offers a “policy toolkit” with suggestions of policy options and identified priorities.

This publication is one of six national assessments to be published under the MECLEP project. Assessment reports for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritius and Viet Nam are forthcoming.

MECC: Policy Brief Series - Issue 3

Migration and Natural Resource Scarcity within the Context of Climate Variability in West Africa
Stephen A. Adaawen, Vanessa Dreier and Papa Sow

Migration – internal and international – is an important feature of the social lives of people across West Africa. While movements within the subregion are generally due to complex and multi-causal factors, natural resource scarcity has served to influence movements especially in rural areas. Drawing from research in rural north-western Benin, this policy brief looks at the effect of migration on the in-land fisheries subsector and emphasizes the need for effective participation of all stakeholders in the management of natural resources to improve livelihoods in the region facing population growth and climate variability.

VIDEO Highlights: Migration and Climate Change in West Africa

Changement climatique et migration en Afrique de l'Ouest
[Video - French Only] Barbara Bendandi on land degradation, climate change and migration at "Désertif'Actions 2015", a civil society international forum dedicated to land degradation and combating desertification, held from 10 to 13 June 2015 in Montpellier, France. 
Official Website:

Research Database Updates

Global Estimates 2015: People displaced by disasters
A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks
Working Paper: The Effects of climate change on internal and international migration: implications for developing countries
Resolving Post-Disaster Displacement: Insights from the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda)
Relatoría. Taller de Capacitación: “Migración, Medio Ambiente y Cambio Climático en América del Sur” 
Search the database

Media Highlights and Updates

Upcoming Events

MECLEP Kenya Policymaker Training Workshop
Nairobi, Kenya. 10-12 August 2015. 

International Geographical Union (IGU) Regional Conference
Lomonosov Moscow State University. 17-21 August 2015.

Read more
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This newsletter has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of IOM and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union or of IOM

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