About Migration and Adaptation

The impacts of floods, droughts, unseasonal rain and other extreme events increase the developmental and adaptation challenges in the developing countries. The planned adaptation measures by the government agencies and NGOs need to be complemented by household strategies to build the adaptive capacity of a household. Adaptation planning and practices need to explore the circumstances under which labour migration and remittances can support an individual, household, or community to avoid the erosion or build capacities that are detrimental to adaptation.

Financial remittance can be a ‘local’ financing mechanism for the unmet adaptation requirements of the remittance receiving households. The impact of social remittances – knowledge, skill, attitude of the migrant workers – on adaptation needs to be explored. However, these cannot be accomplished by the individual migrant workers or their families on their own. The remittance receiving households require a policy framework and institutional arrangement that will acknowledge the role of migrant workers and remittances in the adaptation planning and practice at the local level; facilitate access to information on climate and environmental impacts, financial services, and government schemes; and provide technical guidance to invest in low risk and low cost adaptive options.

The role of migration and remittances in climate change adaptation is an emerging policy concern at the global level. There is a lack of empirical evidence in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region on the mechanisms to support migration-related actions and activities - such as the delivery of social and financial remittances – that can build adaptive capacity of the remittance receiving households and adaptive capacity of the origin communities to drought, floods, and other extreme events.

The role of labour migration and remittances need to be explored as part of the national adaptation agenda on sustainable development, livelihood diversification, community resilience, and in context of the gender issues across these agendas. This will require an coordinated effort among all stakeholders to pursue an evidence based policy engagement to encourage and support investment of the financial remittances or usage of social remittances in major sectors of poverty reduction, and adaptation.

A better understanding of the relationship between migration and adaptation will increase the ability to foster desirable outcomes when a migrant sending community experiences a climatic or environmental hazard. It is necessary to mainstream the potential role of migration and remittances to build adaptive capacity of the remittance receiving households in the origin communities in the adaptation planning and practices across the HKH region. A flexible yet inclusive policy framework complemented by the institutions at various levels (i.e. national to local) is necessary to encourage the use of financial remittances or usage of social remittances in major sectors of climate adaptation.