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Migration and adaptive capacity building Dr. Robert McLeman Associate Professor Department of Geography.

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Presentation on theme: "Migration and adaptive capacity building Dr. Robert McLeman Associate Professor Department of Geography."— Presentation transcript:

1 Migration and adaptive capacity building Dr. Robert McLeman Associate Professor Department of Geography

2 UNFCCC-speak Mitigation: Actions taken to reduce GHG emissions Kyoto Protocol provides key mechanism until 2012 Adaptation: Reducing vulnerability to impacts of anthropogenic climate change Also helping economies adapt to implementation of UNFCCC/protocols A number of initiatives, accords have emerged

3 Adaptation and least developed countries (LDCs) UNFCCC signatories have established: LDC Fund for adaptation (administered by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)) LDC Fund = approx $180M

4 UN LDCs

5 Adaptation and LDCs To access the LDC Fund, countries create NAPA (National Adaptation Programmes of Action) NAPA are to focus on urgent, immediate needs Action-oriented Interest in having grassroots participation There is an Expert group to assist LDCs in preparing NAPA

6 LDCs and NAPA At present >40 NAPA at various stages of process Typical size of LDC grant = $ M NAPA tend to focus on 1 of 3 areas: Agriculture/food security Water quantity/quality Coastal risks

7 Migration and NAPA Migration tends not to be explicit target of NAPA Preparing for distress migration is an important component of Maldives safe island NAPA To what extent might migration affect success of other NAPA? Or be an outcome of NAPA?

8 Migration as adaptation Migration is one of a range of potential adaptive responses to climatic stress Is used in many parts of world (esp. LDCs) Is typically initiated at the household level Is not available to everyone Is not always used by all who might do so In worst cases, may be the only adaptation McLeman, R. A., & Smit, B. (2006). Migration as an Adaptation to Climate Change. Climatic Change, 76(1-2),

9 Environmental migrants More likely to migrate: Young, healthy, skilled, educated Middle class, working class, rural poor Family ties elsewhere Less likely to migrate: Wealthier classes, landowners, owners of fixed assets Urban poor Elderly, infirm, broken families

10 Adaptation to climatic stress via migration Not a simple stimulus/response outcome Adaptive migration behaviour/patterns are influenced by social, economic, & cultural processes Actions taken to reduce vulnerability may have feedback effects on migration behaviour Migration has feedback effect on adaptive capacity of source & destination areas

11 Illustrative case study Country X is a West African LDC with large dryland areas Agriculture = largest sector of economy, workforce Current climatic risks: drought, soil erosion, desertification, flooding by extreme rain events; exacerbated in some regions by deforestation Climate change likely to exacerbate risks

12 Country X demographics Median age = 17 Population growth rate = 3.3% 80% live in rural areas High rates of ongoing migration from dry to humid regions High rates of migration to 2 nd -tier cities Periodic distress migration events (esp. drought)

13 Rural-urban migration For decades, country X has sought to moderate rural-urban migration by improving services/ amenities in rural areas Empirical results suggest improved rural infrastructure (roads, schools, clinics, electricity, piped water) increases rural-to-urban migration Strong social infrastructure (e.g. presence of markets, entertainment) is associated with lower rates of rural out-migration

14 Country X NAPA Priority is to increase food security Actions envisage building food reserves; developing new plans for land and crisis management; increasing agricultural productivity; increasing irrigation; creating pastoral reserves

15 Country X NAPA & migration If successful NAPA could reduce food emergencies, make government better prepared for them Emphasis on management, infrastructure & productivity does not address underlying demographic & migration challenges NAPA thin on addressing vulnerability of fast-growing urban population & changing face of food security

16 Implications Short-term adaptation needs vary among LDCs NAPA are intended to be urgent responses to obvious points of vulnerability. In crafting them ask: To what extent will NAPA activities affect adaptive migration? Where demographics/migration are underlying contributors to vulnerability, to what extent will NAPA address them?

17 Thanks! Merci! Robert McLeman Associate Professor Department of Geography University of Ottawa web: blog:

18 Available publications McLeman, R., & Hunter, L. M. (In Press). Migration in the Context of Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: Insights from Analogues. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. McLeman, R. (2010). Impacts of population change on vulnerability and the capacity to adapt to climate change and variability: a typology based on lessons from a hard country. Population and Environment. (Springer OnlineFirst) McLeman, R. (2008). Climate change migration, refugee protection and adaptive capacity-building. McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, 4(1), McLeman, R., & Smit, B. (2006). Migration as an Adaptation to Climate Change. Climatic Change, 76(1-2), McLeman, R., & Smit, B. (2006). Changement climatique, migrations et sécurité. Les Cahiers de la sécurité, 63(4),


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