Climate-related displacement is not hypothetical: An average of 21.5 million people per year have been displaced since 2008 by natural disasters, and thousands more have fled slow-onset environmental hazards. While migration can serve as a safety valve to adapt to changing conditions, few orderly, legal channels exist for climate migrants (also known as environmental migrants), as this article explores.
From earthquakes to drought, natural disasters and climate change played a key role in migration flows in 2015. Climate-induced migration surfaced as a concern at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP21) as international organizations and policymakers have begun to recognize the growing challenges, and potential protection obligations, of such movement.
Even as Nepal will lean more heavily on its international diaspora to help recover from devastating earthquakes that killed thousands and decimated parts of the country, the disasters have had effects on internal migration. Class and gender dynamics have long driven significant internal flows. This feature article explores migration trends in Nepal, including movement between ecological zones, growing urbanization, and the feminization of an increasingly mobile workforce.
Numerous researchers and organizations have predicted that climate change will trigger historically unprecedented waves of mass migration. MPI's Carolina Fritz examines the complex links between climate change and migration, how and where these links influence current and future migration patterns, and some of the problems with predicting future flows.
Migrants' networks and relatively small travel distances help explain migration from one developing country to another. Dilip Ratha and William Shaw of the World Bank look at these and other reasons for and effects of South-South migration.
In the early 1990s, Ethiopians who had been living in refugee camps in Sudan began to return home. As Laura C. Hammond of Clark University explains, they created a new community in an unfamiliar part of Ethiopia that is thriving 12 years later.