With more droughts, floods, heatwaves and other extreme weather events, adding to the increasing land degradation and rising sea levels, the number of people at risk of being negatively affected by climate change is rising. Environmental degradation has a devastating effect on livelihoods and income in less developed parts of the world, where most of the households depends on land and ecosystems services and goods. To face this loss, individuals and communities might be forced to seek economic opportunities elsewhere, when adaptation on-site is not possible or is too expensive.
The impact of climate change on migration is widely expected to dwarf all others. The World Bank estimates that across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, over 140 million people will be forced to migrate within their own countries due to climate change.
“Climate change-driven migration will be a reality, but it does not need to be a crisis, provided we take action now and act boldly,” said John Roome, a senior director for Climate Change at the World Bank. The challenges of migration in the context of climate change require a new strategic approach to policy. Policy makers will need to take action to prevent harmful environmental changes, reduce their impact, and build resilience in communities.
Viable solutions to these challenges are anchored in sustainable development and inclusive growth opportunities. This entails balancing economic growth and social inclusion with land stewardship and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Innovative measures need to be implemented to encourage effective and sustainable management of natural assets, address the imbalances and provide alternatives to distressed migration.
Join the next Global Landscape Forum Digital Summit, “Climate Change, Migration & Gender”. We will be joined by representatives from UNHCR, IOM, DIE, UNCCD, Platform on Disaster Displacement, and ILO to discuss the core issues contributing to climate-induced migration and the most effective solutions to address this challenge.
Meredith Byrne specialises in the labour market dimensions of displacement. She has been with the International Labour Organisation since 2015. She spent three years working for the ILO Labour Migration Branch in Geneva where she provided technical support on the labour market access of refugees, displaced persons and climate impacted populations. Meredith currently works at the ILO office in Amman, Jordan where she is contributing to the Syrian Response Program. Part of her work focuses on generating employment and more sustainable infrastructure through Employment Intensive Investment Programs in the agriculture and forestry sectors. Prior to working with the ILO, Meredith served as an intern with the Livelihoods Unit at UNHCR in Geneva where she helped coordinated research on the economic implications of refugee flows. Meredith has conducted her own field research on the topic in both Uganda and Cameroon. Meredith holds a MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College.
Atle Solberg is a political scientist from Norway and he is currently the Head of the Coordination Unit of the Platform on Disaster Displacement. He was the Head of the Nansen Initiative Secretariat, the predecessor to the Platform on Disaster Displacement, from 2012 to 2015. His background is primarily from international humanitarian work and from working in the context of displacement (in both conflict and natural hazard situations). He has worked for UNHCR and UN OCHA in Switzerland, the Balkans and in Central America, and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in the Balkans, Indonesia and Colombia. He has research and teaching experience from the University of Bergen (Norway) on humanitarian issues as well as on the protection of unaccompanied minors. He has undertaken evaluation of humanitarian aid and worked as a consultant both with focus on Norway as well as on post-conflict recovery situation in the Balkans and Central America.
Benjamin Schraven is a Senior Researcher of the German Development Institute, which he joined in 2011. He holds a PhD in development studies from the University of Bonn. In the past years, his research activities have mainly been focusing on the issue of "migration as adaptation", migration and rural development, migration and development and migration governance (with a regional focus on Ghana/West Africa). In 2016, Benjamin has been seconded as scientific advisor for migration issues to the Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Between 2009 and 2014 he has also been active as a Guest Lecturer at the University of Ghana. Futhermore, he has also done migration related consultancy work a.o. for the World Bank, UNICEF and several several development cooperation agencies.
Barbara Bendandi works as Policy Officer on Migration for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). She previously worked for the International Organisation for Mingration (IOM) as Migration, Environment and Climate Change Expert and for the Italian Prime Minister's Office (G8 Sherpa Office) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She earned a Master’s degree at Columbia University New York and a Ph.D. in Science and Management of Climate Change at Ca’ Foscari University (Venice).
Erica Bower is the Climate Change and Disaster Displacement Ass. Specialist in the Division of International Protection at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). In this capacity, she supports UNHCR’s work advancing legal, policy and practical solutions for persons displaced in the context of climate change. She holds degrees from Oxford and Columbia Universities, and has formerly worked on climate and mobility issues for OxFam, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, and the Nansen Initiative Secretariat.