Human Migration in the Horn of Africa

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  • Institute:

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had observed that environmental considerations are increasingly affecting the movement of refugees in the Horn of Africa.

    According to available qualitative and quantitative information ( IPCC 2007) , this region – in which many people of concern to UNCHR are located – is one of the areas projected to be most negatively affected by climate change. Environmental change in the Horn of Africa today includes prolonged droughts, desertification, flash floods and land degradation, all of which may be exacerbated by climate change in the medium and long term.

    Key Goals

    • To review relevant literature on environmental change and conflict and extract key findings. Much environmental science, social science and locally-focused ethnographic research has been conducted on this
    • To assess whether the reality for people of concern to UNHCR in the Horn of Africa supports the findings in the literature about the links between environmental change and conflict in the literature
    • To determine, based on observations and narratives in field locations, what relative weight can be placed on environmental factors as a contributor to human mobility.

  • The locations of the site visits – Uganda and Ethiopia – have been selected due to recognition by UNHCR that environmental factors are playing an increasing role in the movement of refugees in the Horn of Africa. Interviews were held in refugee camps with refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda as well as with Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Uganda and Ethiopia.

  • Dr. Koko Warner
    Head of Section Environmental Migration,
    Social Vulnerability and Adaptation
    United Nations University
    Institute for Environment and Human Security