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Monday, July 19, 2010

Mapping Migration

The Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University and others released a report last month on climate change and migration. While title suggests the report maps climate-related migration, which would be a fairly impressive feat indeed, the maps within largely reflect different determinants of biophysical and socioeconomic vulnerability in different global regions. As such, it seems rather strange that the report suggests (in the Executive Summary) it contains "empirical evidence" of environmental change and migration, particularly given this statement is contradicted in the report's introduction. Nevertheless, it is a nice overview of the issue, which at least attempts to dig deeper into the geography of potential drivers of environmental migrants than most prior treatments of the subject.

From the Executive Summary:

"This report explores how environmental shocks and stresses, especially those
related to climate change, can push people to leave their homes in search of
'greener pastures' … or just to survive. In order to make informed decisions,
policymakers and development actors need a better understanding of the linkages
between environmental change, displacement and migration. This report,
therefore, offers:
  • empirical evidence from a first-time, multi-continent survey of environmental change and migration;
  • original maps illustrating how, and where, the impacts of climate change may prompt significant displacement and migration;
  • policy recommendations that reflect the collective thinking of key multi-lateral and research institutions, as well as nongovernmental organizations working directly with many of the world’s most vulnerable populations."

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