Governments Should Support Not Fear Migration



Governments risk adopting policies that

increase people’s vulnerability to climate change

because of a general prejudice against migration,

according to research published today by the International Institute for Environment and Development.Research refutes alarmist predictions about hundreds of millions of people being forced to migrate across international borders because of climate change

 The research, which includes case studies from Bolivia, Senegal and Tanzania, found no evidence that environmental degradation linked to climate change would result in large flows of international migrants.
“People affected by environmental degradation rarely moved across borders,” says the study’s author Dr Cecilia Tacoli. “Instead they moved to other rural areas or to local towns, often temporarily.”
“Such migrants can reduce their vulnerability by diversifying their sources of income and reducing their dependence on natural resources, but governments often view migrants as a problem and either provide little support or actively discourage them from moving.”
 The study urges governments to understand the social and economic factors that shape migration so they can develop policies that support the strategies poor people use to adapt to environmental degradation.
 “Policymakers need to redefine migration and see it as a valuable adaptive response to environmental risks and not as problem that needs to be tackled,” says Tacoli. “We need rational, realistic responses to climate-change, not knee-jerk reactions that create new problems and increase vulnerability,” says Tacoli.