There is already substantial research and evidence to inform policy-makers’ responses to human mobility in the context of environmental and climate change. While quantitative data on migrants are often lacking and robust prognoses regarding future numbers of “climate refugees/migrants” unlikely, there has been a marked improvement in our qualitative understanding of the challenges that affected and vulnerable communities are likely to face as the climate changes, and how migration and mobility are both supporting and undermining their efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Researchers and practitioners have also shown how the design and implementation of policy responses plays a key role in determining the scale and nature of migration in the context of climate change, including whether human mobility has positive or negative outcomes for migrants and host and destination communities. Climate change adaptation measures can support positive responses to migration in two main ways. Firstly, they can serve to reduce the impact of environmental stressors on communities, thus minimising the pressure to migrate, averting displacement and the need for planned relocations. Secondly, they can consider and facilitate migration as an important adaptive strategy for coping with environmental and climate change.
This paper provides policymakers working in climate change adaptation policy with entry points for integrating responses to migration into their work. It offers preliminary conclusions about how they can strengthen responses to environmental migration in the context of recent developments in international climate policy and finance, as well as other international processes, such as the Global Compact for Migration, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.