UN-Backed Study Calls for Emphasis on Migration and Adaptation Strategies in Future Planning

© UN10 June 2009: The UN University's Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), CARE International and Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) launched a report titled “In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement” during the Bonn climate change talks.

The report was funded by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Bank Social Dimension of Climate Change Team.

The report provides empirical evidence, based on a survey on environmental change and migration that involved 2,000 migrants from Central America, the Sahel, glacier zones, the Ganges, the Nile and Mekong deltas, Tuvalu and the Maldives. It also maps how and where the impacts of climate change are expected to cause significant displacement and migration.

The report focuses on how environmental shocks and stresses affect human mobility. It emphasizes that migration is an adaptation option and its importance should be recognized. The authors note that climate change research and negotiations have centered on the imperative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It cautions against prevalent gendered roles and cultural prohibitions that can make it impossible for women and female headed-households to migrate in order to survive due to environmental change.

Finally, the report provides policy recommendations to policy makers and development actors on the linkages between environmental change, displacement and migration. It recommends that countries: put in place contingency plans for human security; further invest in building the resilience of community livelihoods; prioritize the most vulnerable populations; and mainstream migration and adaptation strategies into development planning. [UN Press Release][UNDP Press Release] [The Report ]