Theme:

Human Mobility

Every year, millions of people move in the context of disasters. Disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity in the context of climate change. In 2019 alone, there were around 24.9 million newly displaced people due to disasters. Most of these people do not cross borders but are displaced internally within countries. This estimates only include people displaced in the context of sudden-onset events, while even more people move due to slow-onset changes and climatic stress. 

There are several factors and reasons at the root of every displacement or decision to migrate (or not), interacting in complex patterns: a combination of social, psychological, cultural, political, financial, environmental and demographic factors. It is essential that policies consider this complex network. 

At international policy level, human mobility was first recognized as a potential impact of climate change under paragraph 14f of the 2010 UNFCC Cancun Agreement, which called for “[m]easures to enhance understanding, coordination and cooperation with regard to climate change induced displacement, migration and planned relocation, where appropriate, at national, regional and international levels.” This theme aligns its understanding of what human mobility is as including these various forms of forced and voluntary movements. This theme will also aim to highlight recent research on human immobility or ‘trapped’ populations.

This theme aims to support a social network of practice for those working on and interested in human mobility (and immobility) in the context of disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation. It provides a space for knowledge and experience sharing and discussions. It has been developed as part of the project Floating resilience: understanding climate change and human mobility in Thailand. The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

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Credit: Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson

Contacts

Category:

Human Mobility

Human mobility in the context of climate change is a complex and increasingly pressing issue. This theme sheds light on the social, political, economic, cultural and environmental realities that underpin human mobility in the context of sudden and slow onset events. It features articles and case studies on a wide variety of topics including disaster displacement, vulnerability and protection needs, immobility, policy implementation, and nexus dynamics.
The Big Climate Movement, Migration Matters
Article

The Big Climate Movement

Three experts and eight climate activists dissect the complex interactions between migration and climate change in this 12-episode video series. 

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A man in coastal Bangladesh looks out over the sea which once was the land people in his village used to live on. Sea level rise related erosion is a common struggle for people in low-lying coastal areas of Bangladesh that pushes them to move, adapt and manage around. Credit: Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson
Article

A Review of Estimating Population Exposure to Sea-level Rise and the Relevance for Migration

This review analyses global or near-global estimates of population exposure to sea-level rise and related hazards and examines subsequent estimates of population migration due to this exposure.

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Addressing the land degradation-migration nexus thumbnail
Article

Addressing the Land Degradation –Migration Nexus: the Role of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

A review of existing evidence, good practices, and policy recommendations on the complex interrelationships between migration and desertification, land degradation and drought.

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Bicycle parked on a field path in rural Cambodia, by Bryon Lippincott via Flickr.
Case Study

When is migration a maladaptive response to climate change?

This study presents analyses of climate, food security, migration, and impacts from 218 households in three locations in North-western Cambodia, the most climate vulnerable nation in SE Asia.

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cover image of the booklet
Article

Climate change, migration and adaptation in deltas: Key findings from the DECCMA project

Summary of key findings from the Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) project which ran 2014-2018 and focused on African and Asian deltas.

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Climate change, migration and displacement
Article

Climate change, migration and displacement: the need for a risk-informed and coherent approach

This report presents an overview of the current evidence base on the complex relationships between climate change and human mobility. 

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MECLEP
Article

Making Mobility Work for Adaptation to Environmental Challenges

This comparative report of six countries empirically tests how migration can benefit or undermine adaptation to environmental and climate change, based on MECLEP research.

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Risk related resettlement
Article

Risk-related resettlement and relocation in urban areas

This CDKN Essentials summarises recommendations on the appropriateness of, and best practices for, urban resettlement and relocation as a response to disaster risk.

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TransRe Project
Article

TransRe - Building resilience through translocality. Climate change, migration and social resilience of rural communities in Thailand

The TransRe project seeks to decipher the relations between migration, translocality and social resilience to climate change based on case studies carried out in Thailand and migration destinations.

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Translocal Networks
Case Study

Resilience to Environmental Risks and the Role of Social Networks: A Case Study From Rural Thailand

The subproject studies migration networks by carrying out a social network analysis. The aim is to understand the influence of network properties on the ability to respond to climatic risks.

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Mass displacement and the challenge for urban resilience working paper cover. Photo credit: Andrew McConnell/IRC/Panos Pictures
Article

Mass displacement and the challenge for urban resilience

People displaced by conflict and disasters increasingly end up in urban areas. This Working Paper assesses the impact of mass displacement on the wellbeing of all urban residents.

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Haiti
Article

When do households benefit from migration? Insights from vulnerable environments in Haiti

Building on the main results of the MECLEP case study in Haiti, this policy brief recommends policies aimed at fostering the potential of migration as a positive adaptation strategy.

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picture
Article

Relocation as an adaptation strategy to environmental stress: Lessons from the Mekong River Delta

Is relocation an adequate means of adaptation to environmental change? This policy brief analyses the success factors of relocation programmes in the Mekong River Delta (Vietnam).

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Picture
Article

Migration as adaptation? A comparative analysis of policy frameworks

The issue discusses possible adaptation policies and current CC and development policy structures on human mobility in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritius, PNG and Vietnam.

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Cover page
Article

Environmentally-Induced Displacement - Theoretical Frameworks and Current Challenges

The aim of the paper is to demonstrate environmentally-induced displacement as an increasingly important category of population movement that represents a new set of challenges to the international community and to public international law as well.

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