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A disproportionate number of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the United States come from Honduras, driven by government corruption, impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and hurricanes that have devastated communities and livelihoods. This article examine the multiple factors behind migration from the country, drawing from interviews with migrants en route.
Testimony of Migration Policy Institute Policy Analyst Ariel Ruiz Soto before the House Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight, Management, and Accountability on May 6, 2021, on addressing migration push factors in Central America.
Technically, people forced to move because of climate disasters are not considered “refugees.” But the UN High Commissioner for Refugees still takes climate issues into account, and since 2020 Andrew Harper has been its special advisor on climate action. We talked with Harper about his agency’s role in responding to climate issues, which regions are most likely to be affected by climate impacts, and why climate is a “vulnerability multiplier” for refugees.
Popular discussions usually frame climate change-induced migration negatively, often as a strategy of last resort. But migrating abroad can also be an effective way to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This episode discusses how migration can bring social, economic, and other benefits to migrants and their communities, in conversation with University of Vienna human geographer Harald Sterly.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have left Central America in recent years, and climate extremes have been identified as one of the factors that might be driving this movement, along with elements such as political instability and violence. In this episode, we hear from geographer and climatologist Diego Pons, of Colorado State University, to dissect how changing climate, food insecurity, and migration intersect in this region.
Climate change and international migration both are global issues with aspects that countries try to manage through treaties, pacts, and other types of agreements. But most of the global governance frameworks that exist for climate-induced migration require only voluntary commitments by states. This episode features a discussion with political scientist Nick Micinski, author of the forthcoming books, UN Global Compacts: Governing Migrants and Refugees and Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union.
Among the earliest examples of the disruptions that climate change can bring, some low-lying island countries in the Pacific Ocean are facing serious threats from rising sea levels and coastal erosion. Over the long term, atoll nations such as Kiribati, Tuvalu, and the Marshall Islands might eventually need to relocate some or all of their populations. But not everyone wants to migrate, and governments have balanced supporting people who relocate with other ways of adapting to changing conditions.
Climate change has had a devastating impact on many poor Central American farmers, which can contribute to food insecurity and may be prompting migration from the region's Dry Corridor. But the process is not straightforward. As this article explains, most poor farmers rely on a combination of buying, cultivating, and foraging for their food, which makes it difficult to predict how people will react to individual climate events.
Climate change is already affecting how, whether, and where people migrate. But environmental change is likely to become more extreme in the coming decades, unless the world takes serious action now. How might changes made now impact what future migration looks like? This episode features a conversation with Robert McLeman, a geographer and environmental studies expert at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, about the possible scenarios that lie ahead for the relationship between climate change and migration, depending on how countries act in the next few decades.
Reliable access to food—or lack thereof—can affect an individual’s decision to migrate. Climate change has the ability to exacerbate food insecurity, especially for farmers and others who live off the land, which can have repercussions for human mobility. In this episode we talk with Megan Carney, an anthropologist and director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Regional Food Studies, to examine the role of food security in the connection between climate change and migration.
Billions of dollars are being spent on projects to help communities mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including those at risk of being displaced by environmental events. This episode features Timo Schmidt, from MPI Europe, in a discussion about the growing field of climate finance and its implications for migration management and displacement prevention.
Confronting environmental change, whole communities sometimes relocate from one area to another. This purposeful, coordinated movement, while currently rare, is referred to as managed retreat. In this episode Architesh Panda, from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, explains how this climate adaptation strategy works in India.
Climate change is likely to increase the intensity of extreme-weather events already shaping human mobility and displacement. The nature, scale, and direction of future climate-related migration will depend on many factors. This report takes stock of the influence that different combinations of migration, development, and climate policies could have on migration in regions around the world for the 2020-2050 and 2050-2100 periods, using a first-of-its-kind systematic exercise.
The link between climate change and migration is a complex one. Whether individuals move or stay in place can be voluntary or involuntary, a proactive strategy or last resort, and is part of a bigger story of global mobility and personal networks. This report examines this complicated relationship, highlights limitations of climate response measures to date, and presents an alternative, flexible approach based on the involvement of affected communities.
National governments and UN agencies have been working to implement the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Where has the most progress been made as the compacts hit the two-year mark? And how has the process played out differently for the two pacts? This policy brief explores these questions, the growing divergence between the pacts, and how challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic are shaping implementation.
Migration can help build resilience against the encroaching effects of climate change. Instead of being passive victims of environmental degradation, individuals sometimes move to gain money, knowledge, and skills that can fortify their household of origin. Migrant workers from Thailand demonstrate how and under what conditions this process works.
There are a lot of predictions about how many people will migrate in response to climate change. Depending on where you look, the next few decades could see hundreds of millions – or even more than a billion – people pick up and move. We asked Julia Blocher, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, to explain why the predictions vary so much. We also discussed how this movement can lead to conflict.
The relationship between climate change and migration is long and complex. Human civilizations have been affected by environmental conditions for centuries, but we should be wary of arguments that huge numbers of people are inevitably destined to migrate in response to specific climate threats. In this episode of Changing Climate, Changing Migration, we chat with Alex de Sherbinin of Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network about what the research shows—and does not show.
Climate-induced migration can lead to tensions and violence between host communities and new arrivals. This conflict can flare up at various levels, including among rural farmers and herders in relatively peaceful countries such as Tanzania.
Climate change is affecting human movement now, causing internal displacement and international migration, and will do so in the future. But the impact is often indirect, and rarely is the process as straightforward as one might think. This article provides an overview of research on how climatic hazards drive and affect migration, reviewing which types of people might migrate and under what conditions.