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ICIMOD HQ. Kathmandu, Nepal

Regional Knowledge Forum on 'Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Sustainable Development Goals in the Hindu Kush Himalaya'




ICIMOD HQ. Kathmandu, Nepal

Date & Time

14 September 2017 to 15 September 2017

Soumyadeep Banerjee


The adverse impacts of environmental shocks and stressors will be disproportionately high in developing countries, especially among the poor and vulnerable populations. People will respond to these impacts with a combination of in-situ and ex-situ strategies, including mobility. Human mobility manifests in various forms (e.g. displacement, migration, and resettlement) in the communities affected by disasters and environmental change. The loss of place of residence or economic disruption due to extreme weather events results in displacement of population, which is largely temporary in nature. Though most of the people displaced by disasters remain within their country, some persons may move across border to a neighboring country. In addition, migration for work is considered to be a household strategy to spread risks of environmental stressors. Remittances are important for the households that adopt migration as a strategy to spread risks, seek employment, increase income, and accumulate investment capital. Moreover, a circulation of ideas, practices, and identities between the destination and origin communities is facilitated by migrants. Some governments are considering relocation and resettlement as potential strategies to address observed climate changes and projected changes in resource productivity and risks.

The relationship between human mobility and climate change remains in the fringe of policy discourse in the Hindu Kush Himalayan countries, where migration itself exists in the periphery of policy discourse in most of the countries. Mainstreaming human mobility in climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development goals remains a work in progress. Past research in this region had suggested that most of the migrants from communities vulnerable to extreme weather events are likely to move to a destination within the country of origin. However, internal migration is often perceived as a challenge to development planning and ignored in adaptation and disaster management planning.

The mandate for addressing human mobility remains fragmented within different government institutions, which have little opportunity to discuss about the relevant issues and synergize their responses. Generally, different government institutions represent the country in different global processes (e.g. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate ChangeSendai Framework for Disaster Risk ReductionGlobal Forum on Migration and Development, and Sustainable Development Goals). The government position on human mobility is seldom synergized between different government institutions in the context of these global processes. There needs to be a shared understanding and common approach regarding human mobility among different government agencies that are part of the aforementioned processes. Recently, there have been some positive developments in this region. For example, the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), GoN, is developing the Climate Change and Migration Strategy for Nepal through a consultative mechanism that engages relevant government stakeholders. For a better integration of the policy domains, there is a fundamental need for the various narratives on these themes to converge and support multi-stakeholder forums at the national level to discuss the approaches for such integration.


The objective of this knowledge forum is to bring together policymakers and experts from BangladeshBhutanNepalPakistan, and Myanmar with the aim to mainstream human mobility in national policies regarding climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development goals, with a particular focus on preparing actionable recommendations. There is also the expectation to share best practices and lessons learned across the region.

Expected results

  • Take stock of the integration of human mobility in current discussions and policies related to climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development.
  • Build a shared understanding regarding various forms of human mobility and their implications for policy-making among different government institutions.
  • Recognize the key mobility pathways (e.g. displacement, labour migration, and resettlement) in the context of climate change; map key actors and mandates, including overlaps between the mandates of different government institutions; identify knowledge and capacity gaps and opportunities for inter-ministerial collaboration.
  • Identify areas within programmes on climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development goals, where the role of human mobility could be mainstreamed.

Concrete outputs

  • A ‘model’ framework on human mobility that could foster a better understanding of human mobility across different policy domains.
  • Key messages that could foster a better understanding of human mobility across different policy domains.

Proposed participants

Participants will include 20 representatives from government officials in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Myanmar. The Knowledge Forum aims to provide a platform for government officials participating in processes such as United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Global Forum on Migration and Development, and Sustainable Development Goals to interact with each other about human mobility. Representatives from a limited number of international organizations addressing these issues will also  participate.

About the organizers

This Knowledge Forum will be hosted by the Nepal Institute of Development Studies (NIDS) in collaboration with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) of the Government of Nepal, and Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD).

The workshop is generously funded by the Federal Government of Germany and the European Union.