Funded by The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the project of the Transatlantic Study Team on Climate Change and Migration was proposed by the Institute for the Study of International Migration, in collaboration with UNU-EHS, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Migration Dialogue, the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), Adelphi Research and the Overseas Development Institute.
The Transatlantic Study Team 2009/2010 investigated the impact of climate change on migration patterns. Environmental deterioration, including natural disasters, rising sea level, and drought problems in agricultural production, could cause millions of people to leave their homes in the coming decades. GMF’s study team addressed knowledge gaps and helped bring the topic to the attention of policymakers and other stakeholders in Europe, the US and in some affected countries.
The study team on climate change and migration had delivered four main outcomes in the past year:
1. Held project meetings and high-level policy dialogues in Berlin, Washington D.C. and Brussels
2. Completed site visits to Senegal, Mexico and Bangladesh and completed field reports
3. Wrote policy background papers
4. Final project report and summary for policymakers.
The research and site visits had reinforced to the study team that the interconnections between climate change and migration are complex. The country visits emphasized the intertwined role of environmental and climatic factors with other kinds of factors in driving mobility.
The complexity stood out in three areas:
1. challenges in identifying determinative causation between climate change and migration, particularly given the extent to which local environmental factors and unsustainable development practices affect migration trends and, in turn, exacerbate global climate change
2. role of migration as an adaptation mechanism
3. the absence of appropriate policy tools to address migration induced in whole or in part by environmental change and degradation.
Dr. Koko Warner
Head of Section Environmental Migration,
Social Vulnerability and Adaptation
United Nations University
Institute for Environment and Human Security