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, implemented by IOM.
Migration, Environment and Climate Change:
Evidence for Policy in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean
Project Launch and Capacity Building Workshop in Namibia 14 - 15 March 2017 Windhoek, Namibia
Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region have been adversely affected by climate change in recent years. In parallel, various forms of migration have been observed in the Southern African region, from forced migration in reaction to sudden-onset disasters to permanent, temporary or circular migration directly linked to slow-onset environmental events. Policymakers in the region increasingly demand more evidence on the inter-linkages between climate change, environmental degradation, natural disasters and human migration. In response to the expressed needs, the IOM Development Fund (IDF) is supporting four countries in the region (Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, and Namibia) through a regional project with a view to foster better understanding and awareness, build the evidence base and reinforce the capacity of policymakers and practitioners across different sectors, in order to inform the formulation of related national and regional policy and operational planning. In the context of this IOM regional project, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and IOM launched the project on migration, environment and climate change in Namibia on 14 March 2017. The project’s launch was attended by more than 40 participants from key governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, as well as by representatives of the wider UN family in Namibia. The launch was followed by a capacity building workshop on migration, environment and climate change (MECC). In Namibia, the impact of the recent drought has made communities more vulnerable to food insecurity, putting the livelihoods of many families at risk and heightening the possibility of relocation to urban areas. The workshop allowed to define priorities and to inform the development of the nationwide migration, environment and climate change country profile scheduled to be released at the end of 2017.
Breakfast Briefing on Migration, Environment and Climate Change
16 March 2017
The IOM Regional Office for the Asia and Pacific in Bangkok held a breakfast briefing on 16 March to discuss migration, environment and climate change issues in the Asia-Pacific region. The meeting was an opportunity to disseminate the findings of three studies recently published by IOM in the region to representatives from donor and diplomatic missions, UN agencies and NGOs who attended the event. During the presentations, IOM representatives provided an overview of key issues in the region, IOM’s activities in these areas, and synergies between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation activities. IOM colleagues from Bangladesh and Cambodia emphasized that mobility due to climate change and environmental degradation is already underway in the region, yet policies and operational frameworks to address associated challenges remain lacking. This is based on household surveys conducted in Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal under the South Asia assessment study, and another research carried out in Cambodia. In the Pacific, a qualitative study demonstrated the importance of looking at labour migration across traditional pathways as a means for climate change adaptation.
The discussion following the presentations raised such issues as research and data needs and gaps, gender dimension, and possible involvement of the private sector in climate change adaptation and disaster recovery action. Participants emphasized that greater research needs to be undertaken in order to understand exactly how climate change can act as a tipping point for migration and also to distinguish the impact of climate change and environmental degradation (caused by increased pollutants etc) in their effect on mobility. Participants also emphasized that these findings should then feed into development projects which till now do not tend to incorporate these migration dynamics in their planning, particularly in origin and destination regions. Finally, it was recommended that these studies should be reflected in the IPCC’s upcoming sixth assessment report.
Making Mobility Work for Adaptation to Environmental Changes:
Results from the MECLEP global research
This report is the final publication of the European Union–funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project. The comparative report builds on desk reviews, household surveys and qualitative interviews conducted in the six project countries (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Republic of Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam) to assess the extent to which migration, including displacement and planned relocation, can benefit or undermine adaptation to environmental and climate change.
Despite the different social and environmental contexts of the six studied countries, migration serves as an adaptation strategy as it often helps migrant households to diversify income and to increase their preparedness for future hazards. Conversely, displacement due to natural hazards tends to pose challenges to adaptation as it increases the vulnerability of those displaced. Finally, planned relocation can both represents a successful adaptation strategy or expose the affected population to new vulnerabilities. In this regard, the report highlights the importance of sharing examples of good practices for locally driven and rights-based planned relocation. Other important policy implications includes the need for i) investing in disaster risk reduction and resilience to address environmental displacement and ii) integrating migration into urban planning to reduce challenges for migrants and communities of destination. The importance of paying particular attention to gender issues and to the needs of vulnerable groups such as the elderly and trapped population is also stressed.
In general, the report demonstrates how data and evidence are fundamental to formulate comprehensive policy responses and facilitate the potential positive effects of environmental migration.
Assessing the Climate Change–Migration Nexus Through The Lens of Migrants:
The case of the Republic of Mauritius
This report presents the findings of the household survey and qualitative interviews conducted in the Republic of Mauritius as part of the MECLEP project. The study explores in which ways migration can serve as an adaptation strategy to environmental and climate change in the country. The household survey involved both migrants and non-migrants households and was conducted in three sites: Port Louis, Bambous/Flic-en-Flac/Tamarin and Rodrigues. The survey reveals that migration can have positive impacts on income and employment as well as on trade and investments. Moreover, migration often helps to improve migrant households‘ health conditions, education and well-being in general. However, the study also reveals that migrant households have, on average, lower income levels than non-migrant households and often face challenges in relation to discrimination and housing.
The report also provides important policy implications. In particular, it stresses the need of i) mainstreaming migration as an adaptation strategy to environmental and climate change into the policy framework of the country; ii) developing plans to ensure the well-being of migrants and enhance social cohesion in receiving areas and iii) collecting and disseminating data on migration flows to inform policy on urban planning and resource management programmes, especially in receiving areas.
Migration as Adaptation to Environmental and Climate Change:
The case of Kenya
This report is the sixth of the six country case reports produced in the framework of the MECLEP project, investigating to what extent migration can be seen as an adaptation strategy to environmental and climate. The study involved both a household survey and qualitative interviews in three sites: Kisumu County, Kitui County and Nairobi County. These three areas are particularly affected by floods, drought and riverbank erosion, which significantly impact on human mobility.
The survey’s findings highlight, on the one hand, how migration often facilitates the acquisition of skills and knowledge within migrant households, thus representing a positive adaptation strategy to environmental and climate change. On the other hand, the study suggests that access to services (such as water, education, health, employment and security) is often poorer among migrant households, and that migrants experience more discrimination than non-migrant households in accessing employment and social services. In light of the empirical evidence presented, the authors of the report highlight several policy implications. Among others, it is recommended that policy and guidelines on early warning systems should be enhanced and that social protection plans should be reviewed to be more inclusive, both in sending and in receiving areas.
Climate change increases the risk of natural disasters and places a strain on livelihoods. This may contribute to high-risk behaviours and other negative coping strategies among affected populations, such as resorting to unscrupulous recruitment agencies associated with human smuggling and trafficking.
This IOM infosheet explores the links between climate change, human trafficking and smuggling in the Asia-Pacific region. To address these challenges, the infosheet provides an overview of best practices from existing projects in the region.
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.