The Where the Rain Falls project aims to increase understanding of the complexities of changes in rainfall patterns and how they affect food security and human migration. Through our research and risk reduction and adaptation efforts, we will provide better knowledge, recommendations and practical solutions to improve the lives of vulnerable communities in developing countries around the world.
Where the Rain Falls is a three-year programme of research, adaptation activities, advocacy and education on changing weather patterns, hunger and human mobility. Changing weather patterns are already causing weather extremes, including droughts and flooding, leading to food insecurity and displacement of people. Yet, these changing weather patterns, which include less predictable seasons and increasingly erratic rainfall, are some of the most important but least understood impacts of environmental change. While erratic weather has long presented serious challenges to people dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, increasing variability due to climate change is making farming, pastoralism and even artisanal fishing more difficult and precarious.
Climate change is exacerbating risks such as heat stress, insufficient or too much rain at crucial moments in the plant cycle, pests and diseases. These worsened impacts interact with a range of escalating and existing stresses on rural livelihoods—like land pressure, soil erosion, deforestation and depleted water resources.
These risks have a cumulative impact on food security can be devastating and is already affecting human mobility in new ways. CARE International and the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, with support from the AXA Group and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, have recently launched a new partnership to enhance the capacity of governments, civil society and the private sector to better understand and effectively address the relationship between changing weather patterns, food security and human mobility in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities.
Based on a protocol developed for Where the Rain Falls, field research was conducted in eight countries (Bangladesh, India, Guatemala, Peru, Ghana, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam) to examine the interplay among rainfall patterns, food security and human mobility. Using a Participatory Research Approach (PRA), household surveys and expert interviews–as well as local and global observation systems covering rainfall variability–the research aimed to answer this question: Under what circumstances do households use migration as a risk management strategy in response to increasing rainfall variability and food insecurity?
UNU-EHS is also conducting agent-based modeling to address the scenarios under which rainfall variability and food security may become significant drivers of human mobility in the medium- and long-term based on analysis of data from certain research sites. Finally, CIESIN at Columbia University is conducting mapping that puts the research results on migration in the context of local agro-ecosystems, natural resources, and rainfall variability.
Building on the results of the research and with support from the AXA Group, community-based adaptation projects will be designed and implemented in Thailand, Peru, India and Tanzania to test “best-bet” interventions identified in collaboration with communities. The activities are intended to make an immediate contribution toward reducing the vulnerability of these communities to worsening agro-climatic risks.
For media inquiries, contact:
Where the Rain Falls Communications Coordinator
For more information about the project, please contact:
Where the Rain Falls Project Coordinator
Dr. Koko Warner
Head of Section Environmental Migration,
Social Vulnerability and Adaptation
United Nations University
Institute for Environment and Human Security