Environmental change is likely to affect global migration flows in a number of ways, including by making areas uninhabitable in the short and long term, reducing livelihoods, and increasing the likelihood of conflict as competition for scarce resources rises. For individuals already in a vulnerable situation due to economic or other reasons, migration may be the only viable adaptation strategy to a changing environment.

In a new policy brief, Environmental Change and Migration: What We Know, author Susan Martin examines displacement as a result of environmental change and offers recommendations for policymakers in countries that may experience the brunt of such change as well as those that expect to receive climate migrants from other countries in the future.

The policy brief is the second in a nine-brief series being published by the Migration Policy Institute this month that will distill accumulated evidence and experience on the linkages between migration and development as well as offer recommendations to policymakers. The series is being published in advance of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will take place Oct. 3 – 4.

The first policy brief in the series, published earlier this week, examines the evidence that respect for migrants’ rights, beyond its intrinsic value, brings economic benefits for countries of origin and destination. Next week, MPI will publish two more briefs in the series, one assessing whether the migration of skilled workers from developing countries represents an actual brain drain, the other examining the demographic disparities that will help shape the mobility of labor and skills this century. We invite you to stay tuned as we release more work in the weeks ahead. And, we also invite you to peruse our existing deep body of research on migration and development at www.migrationpolicy.org/research/migration_development.php.



The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI, please visit www.migrationpolicy.org.


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