Environmental Change and Migration: State of the Evidence


Experts generally agree that the environment is but one of the many reasons that prompt people to migrate, sometimes operating on its own but more often through other mechanisms, particularly loss of livelihoods affected by environmental disruption. Climate change may well increase the likelihood of both internal and international migration through four path-ways: increased drought and desertification, rising sea levels, more intense and frequent storms, and com-petition for scarce resources. This review of the state of the literature and its accompanying annotated bibliography aims to assess the current state of the evidence on these two dimensions of environmental change and migration: 1) the environmental determinants of movements of people in both acute and slow onset situations; and 2) movements of people as an adaptation strategy in the context of environmental change. The goal of the review is to examine current knowledge about the interconnections between the environment and migration and identify areas of research needed to improve future evidence-based policymaking in this area.