GMF Transatlantic Study Team on Climate Change & Migration
Funded by The German
Marshall Fund of the United States, the project of the Transatlantic Study Team
on Climate Change and Migration was proposed by the Institute for the Study of
International Migration, in collaboration with UNU-EHS, the International
Organization for Migration (IOM), Migration Dialogue, the Bonn International
Center for Conversion (BICC), Adelphi Research and the Overseas Development
Transatlantic Study Team 2009/2010
of climate change on migration patterns. Environmental deterioration, including natural disasters, rising sea level, and drought problems in agricultural production, could cause millions of people to leave their homes in the coming decades. GMF's study team addressed knowledge gaps and helped bring the topic to the attention of policymakers and other stakeholders in Europe, the US and in some affected countries.
The first project phase took
place June 2009 until May 2010. The project is extended until December 2011.
The study team on
climate change and migration has delivered four main outcomes in the past
Held project meetings
and high-level policy dialogues in Berlin, Washington D.C. and Brussels
Completed site visits
to Senegal, Mexico and Bangladesh and completed field reports
Final project report
and summary for policymakers.
The research and site
visits have reinforced to the study team that the interconnections between
climate change and migration are complex. The country visits emphasized the
intertwined role of environmental and climatic factors with other kinds of
factors in driving mobility.
The complexity stood
out in three areas:
identifying determinative causation between climate change and migration,
particularly given the extent to which local environmental factors and
unsustainable development practices affect migration trends and, in turn,
exacerbate global climate change
role of migration as
an adaptation mechanism
the absence of
appropriate policy tools to address migration induced in whole or in part by
environmental change and degradation.
The Role of UNU-EHS
Within the framework
of ongoing research on environmentally induced migration, UNU-EHS, together
with Georgetown University, is co-chair of the German Marshall Study Team on
Climate Change and Migration. Other research results from UNU-EHS projects on
the theme can be found on our website
work, supported by a generous grant from the German Marshall Fund, supported
UNU-EHS and Georgetown University to assemble a team of experts to examine four
channels through which the environment influences human migration and
and magnitude of weather-related natural disasters, such as hurricanes and
cyclones that destroy infrastructure and livelihoods and require people to
relocate for shorter or longer periods
changes in weather
patterns that contribute to longer-term drying trends that affect access to
essential resources such as water and negatively impact the sustainability of a
variety of environment-related livelihoods including agriculture, forestry,
rising sea levels
that render coastal and low-lying areas uninhabitable in the longer-term
natural resources that may exacerbate pressures that contribute to
which in turn precipitates displacement.
The aim of the study
group was to increase understanding of the interconnections as well as possible
policy frameworks for addressing migration that may result from these occurrences.
of the project is that migration is indeed a mechanism through which people
manage the risks associated with variability and change in climate.
Koko Warner, Head of the
Migration, Social Vulnerability & Adaptation Section
Co-Chair of the project. She helped prepare and lead project meetings and
policy briefings in Berlin, Washington, D.C. and Brussels. She led the Study
Team visit in Senegal, together with local partners. She authored a Senegal
field report, and wrote a background paper “Assessing Institutional and
Governance Needs related to Environmental Change and Human Migration”,
contributed to the final project report and summary for policymakers.