It is difficult to say how many of the 85 million displaced people in the world are “environmental migrants” but it is widely recognized that environmental and climate change are becoming important – if not the most important – factors for migration. The reasons for “environmental migrants” to leave their home(land) vary from degraded land, accumulating natural disasters and extreme weather events that make landscapes uninhabitable, to actual conflicts that can often also be traced back to competition over scarce resources, like land or water. Most of the migrants are domestic migrants, many of them leaving the countryside towards bigger cities.
The Fifth IPCC Assessment Report emphasizes that especially the most vulnerable people often find themselves in a downward spiral: they “are able to use migration to cope with environmental stress, but their migration is an emergency response that creates conditions of debt and increased vulnerability”, with serious economic, social and sanitary consequences: it leads to a loss of agricultural productivity, increasing expenses for infrastructure, sanitation or health, problems in food supply, in short: unbridled urbanization. Adequate planning for and managing environmentally induced migration is critical for human security.
In this session, we want to shed light on practical approaches to combat water-related causes of migration. Questions that should be answered are: What can be done at the local, regional or national levels to increase the adaptation capacity (and reduce vulnerability) of the rural population with regards to growing water scarcity? What are necessary measures and strategies that allow people to stay in rural areas and that maintain their welfare? Solutions can range from increased agricultural or water efficiency, business concepts to integrated approaches for regional development.
Session design: Three Presentations (10 min. each) plus moderated panel discussion which actively involves the audience.
Moderation: Lena Horlemann (researcher, inter 3 GmbH)