Environmental Change and Migration

What are the generalised, large scale factors of the environment-migration relationship and to what extent is it conditional on various individual, socio-economic, and political factors?

Summary

The debate on whether and how environmental changes affect human security and, ultimately, force people to leave their homes and migrate to places more conducive to their wellbeing, has experienced a strong revival in the climate change context.

While various studies predict large environmental migration flows due to climate change and other environmental disorders, they do not investigate sufficiently whether the relationship between climate change and migration holds for a large set of countries and for different types of environmental afflictions.

Most importantly also, the environment-migration relationship may be conditional on various individual, socio-economic, and political factors. This project aims at filling several of the theoretical, empirical, and methodological gaps that do persist in the existing literature in order to gain a better understanding of whether, when, and how environmental change might lead to migration.

The findings of this research may be used by international organisations, such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that seek to develop effective policies and programmes for dealing with environmental migration.

Keywords

  • Environmental change
  • Migration
  • Micro-level analysis

Disciplines

  • Climatology
  • Development
  • Economics
  • Environment
  • Political science

Collaborations

International organisations

  • UNHCR
  • IOM

Relevant Countries

  • All countries

Status

This project, started in 2012, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

Vally Koubi
Coordinator
University of Berne

Tobias Böhmelt
Co-Coordinator
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Gabriele Spilker
Co-Coordinator
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Lucas Beck
Principal Member
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Tobias Siegfried
Principal Member
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich