ICIMOD work on Migration influencing global agenda

As a result of ICIMOD’s work on migration with the University of Sussex in the UK, the UK Foresight Committee contacted University of Sussex and ICIMOD to jointly prepare a policy discussion paper for the European Commission on ‘Migration as an Effective Mode of Adaptation to Climate Change’. It is expected that this policy paper will feed into the drafting of the European Commission’s staff working paper on migration and adaptation. 

Migration study and partnership 

Despite various potential benefits and impacts of migration, little is known about the specific role of migration in the context of adaptation to climate-related stressors. While financial remittances may be spent on both structural and non-structural adaptation measures to reduce household vulnerability to environmental hazards, it is far from clear what circumstances – social, political or economic – are most propitious for this kind of spending. There are knowledge gaps in terms of the conditions that make it most likely for social remittances to play a positive role in building adaptation specifically to climate change. Additionally, the costs of migration need to be factored into an assessment of migration as an adaptation strategy.  

ICIMOD’s migration research team has recognized a knowledge niche on environment, migration, and adaptation. Since 2010 it has been involved in empirical research and has been contributing to various international and regional forums. The latest in this fledgling process of knowledge development is the policy discussion paper for the European Commission on Migration as an Effective Mode of Adaptation to Climate Change – a joint effort with the University of Sussex (2012). 

There are a number of areas – development policy, urban planning, settlement policy, remittances, migration policy, evaluation metrics – in which EU external cooperation could play a role in influencing policy in such a way that migration is recognized and/or facilitated as one form of adaptation to climate change. 

The EU Staff Working Paper will be based on a series of background papers including the one jointly prepared by Sussex and ICIMOD, which will be cited. In addition, this background paper has been widely circulated.