United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Does Environmental Degradation Contribute to Forced Migration?

"The Impact of Environmental Degradation on Migration Flows across Countries" - Working Paper No. 5/2008 by Tamer Afifi and Koko Warner out now


In the latest working paper the authors try to answer the question whether environmental degradation may contribute to forced migration. A gravity regression model is used to detect the impact of global environmental factors on the migration flows across countries of the world. To the knowledge of the authors, this working paper is the first to include environmental variables in a gravity model, and it is shown that environment has a positive significant impact on migration, which until now has been considered unrelated.

Download Working Paper No 5

Traditionally, literature investigating forced migration focuses on factors like hunger or war. Recently, the concept of "environmental migrants" or "climate refugees" questions if as well soil degradation or environmental hazards may contribute to forced migration, because deteriorating environmental conditions can force people to migrate to sustain themselves. The in this working paper detected correlation between environment and migration has important implications for environmental management, development policy, and migration policy; a research is now needed which analyzes these problems more detailed.