E.g., 04/13/2024
E.g., 04/13/2024
Environmental Change and Migration: What We Know
Policy Briefs
September 2013

Environmental Change and Migration: What We Know

Environmental change is likely to affect global migration flows in a number of ways. Both long-term trends such as increased flooding and the increasing scarcity of resources as well as shorter term trends like severe weather are likely to contribute to displacement and increased migration for individuals already in vulnerable situations. While often viewed as a negative outcome of climate change, planned migration can also serve as a strategy for mitigating its impact.  

Internationally, immigration policies should prepare appropriate governance structures and policies now to prevent greater difficulties later. National governments and international bodies need to act together in a collaborative planning process involving the sharing of best practices and the development of guiding principles for policymaking to ensure migration -- both as a result of environmental change and as an adaptation strategy itself -- is adequately incorporated into their planning. 

This brief describes a variety of ways in which environmental change may affect migration, current policy responses to climate migration, and provides recommendations for policy planning.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Implications of Climate Migration for Development

A. What Will Environmental Migration Look Like?

B. Current Policy Responses to Climate Migration

III. Recommendations for Policy Planning

A. Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change

B. Creating Sustainable Migration and Development Policies

C. Developing New Immigration Policies

IV. Obstacles to Planning for Climate Migration

V. The Way Forward: Coordinating to Achieve Better Outcomes