Policy Briefs

The Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Policy Brief Series seeks to contribute to the current global knowledge base by providing reliable and precise information on the topic of migration and environmental change, including climate change. Its objective is also to present related and appropriate policy options by identifying recommendations, good practices and lessons learned to harness the positive impacts of migration in adapting to environmental changes.

The Policy Brief Series is a reader-friendly online publication intended for policymakers and other stakeholders working in the field of migration, environment and climate change adaptation policies.







Policy Brief Series Issue 3 | Vol. 2: Environmental migration in Morocco: Stocktaking, challenges and opportunities

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Environmental migration is a reality for Morocco. Environmental and climatic factors not only account for migration to Morocco from sub-Saharan Africa, but also for movements out of and within the country, especially to the major coastal cities. With the severe impacts of climate change expected to rise in intensity in the coming decades, sudden-onset events, such as floods and storms, as well as slow-onset processes, such as droughts and desertification, will further intensify these movements. This policy brief calls for more research to better understand the linkages between climate change and migration in Morocco and suggests integrating environmental migration as a cross-cutting policy issue within the Moroccan domestic policy. The hosting of the COP22 in Marrakesh this November offers political momentum to place spotlight on the topic within the Moroccan political agenda. 

ISSN: 2410-4930

Policy Brief Series Issue 2 | Vol. 2: Migrants and natural disasters: National law, policy and practice in the Americas

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The question of how to regulate international migration-related challenges in the context of rapid-onset natural disasters is attracting increasing interest from academics and policymakers alike. However, the fact that the issue is not addressed directly by international law or policy has sometimes led to the erroneous conclusion that no law or policy exists. Against this backdrop, this policy brief points to a range of applicable law, policy and practice at the national level in the Americas and which offers a prospective basis for further legal and policy development in this area.


Policy Brief Series Issue 1 | Vol. 2: Land matters: The role of land policies and laws for environmental migration in Kenya

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Environmental migration is inevitably linked to the question of land for several reasons: (a) environmental and climate change reduces the amount of habitable land; (b) more land is needed to accommodate those who leave such areas; and (c) land policies are decisive factors in determining people’s resilience at places of origin, as well as successful establishment at destinations. In Kenya, land tenure insecurity is a major factor of vulnerability to environmental change. 

Based on a review of Kenyan land legislation for the Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project, this policy brief analyses the ongoing land reform process in Kenya, and its potentials and shortcomings that contribute to the management of environmental migration, as well as mitigate pressures to migrate. This two-pronged approach is in line with Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan but impaired by current delays in implementing the policy objectives of the Kenyan Constitution and the New Land Policy. The author recommends accelerated efforts in this direction and to incorporate measures to mitigate land tenure insecurity in disaster management frameworks.


Policy Brief Series Issue 11: Using migration to develop resilience against climate change in Mauritius

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The Republic of Mauritius is at the forefront of climate change. The country experiences tropical cyclones, flash floods, droughts and sea-level rise that threaten the land and livelihood of the country’s most vulnerable populations. This policy brief summarizes the current situation of migration, environment and climate change in Mauritius and the country’s policies addressing environmental migration. It recommends the following: (a) Mauritius should take action towards developing the full potential of migration as a positive adaptation strategy to climate change (such as through diaspora cooperation); (b) concretize meaningful actions to build resilience of local communities; and (c) further cooperate with international and regional partners to achieve effective and comprehensive policies on human mobility and climate change.  


Policy Brief Series Issue 10: Climate change and climate policy induced relocations: A challenge for social justice - Recommendations of the Bielefeld Consultation

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This policy brief is the result of an interdisciplinary research workshop with academics and practitioners, held at Bielefeld University in Germany on November 2014, in cooperation with COST Action IS1011 on Climate Change and Migration. The Bielefeld Consultation identified the need to raise awareness of the challenges of planned relocation as an adaptive strategy to climate change or as a consequence of climate policies. Acknowledging the risks and failures of planned relocation, the Consultation suggests principals and precautionary measures to ensure climate justice. And as a result of the Consultation, non-conclusive list of minimum standards for planned relocation are put forward for the consideration of policymakers and practitioners engaged in climate change adaptation and mitigation.


Policy Brief Series Issue 9: The poor pay the price, New research insights on human mobility, climate change and disasters

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In light of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of 2015, this policy brief highlights why human mobility should be included in the discussions on adaptation. Migration, in the context of environmental degradation and climate change, is already a reality today, particularly within countries, and not a future scenario. This is illustrated with findings from six countries (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam). Data from Haiti shows that, in particular, both internal and international circular migration is a beneficial adaptation strategy to climate change and disasters.

Yet environmental stress is disproportionately affecting the poorest, who are most likely to be displaced and in need of relocation. Thus, policies should aim at reducing the risk for disasters and increasing resilience of those who cannot move and include the contributions of migrants as recognized in the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.



Policy Brief Series Issue 8: When do households benefit from migration?

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Building on the main results of the MECLEP case study in Haiti, this policy brief explores how different forms of human mobility relate to household vulnerability in three Haitian municipalities (La Marmelade, Les Gonaïves and Port-au-Prince).  Recurrent (including seasonal) migration seems to be associated with the lowest levels of household vulnerability. 

The authors recommend policies aimed at fostering the potential of migration as part of positive adaptation strategies, while also  preventing and reducing displacement risks. Besides Haiti’s migration policy (currently under discussion), migration and its  relationship with household vulnerability is interconnected with several policy areas that would benefit from mainstreaming migration.


Policy Brief Series Issue 7: Some policies that might influence the relationship between environment and migration in the Dominican Republic

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Migration flows have always characterized the history of the Dominican Republic. Internal migration is a significant phenomenon within the country. Moreover, the Dominican Republic is one of most vulnerable countries to climate change. Nevertheless, the relationship between climate change and/or environmental degradation and internal migration is understudied and often not taken into consideration.

In this Policy Brief, Allen Cordero Ulate and Guillermo Lathrop propose a set of policies to address environmental migration in the framework of the Proposal for the National Development Strategy 2010-2030. Among other points, the authors emphasize the need for recognizing the inequalities existing among the population, strengthening territorial coordination bodies with the participation of the civil society and promoting territorial rural development and sustainable agriculture.

Policy Brief Series Issue 7 is in Spanish. 

ISSN 2415-1211


Policy Brief Series Issue 6: Relocation as an adaptation strategy to environmental stress

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Is relocation an adequate means of adaptation to environmental change? And if so, how should the relocation process be designed to benefit the affected population? This policy brief analyses the success factors of relocation programmes by drawing on studies on relocation projects in the Mekong River Delta in Viet Nam, as well as research carried out as part of the European Union-funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project. The authors argue that the success of relocation depends on various factors: (a) livelihood preservation; (b) distance of the relocation site; and (c) availability of broad economic and institutional programmes supporting the process. The policy brief also stresses the importance of understanding relocation as a starting point of further mobility and formation of migration corridors, particularly in the case of the Mekong River Delta and Ho Chi Minh City. 


Policy Brief Series Issue 5: Migration as adaptation?

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Building on the research of “migration as adaptation”, the fifth issue aims to discuss possible adaptation policies and current climate change and development policy structures on human mobility in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam.

It presents available national policy channels for proactive adaptation, as well as the ways in which proactively managed migration can be incorporated within these existing frameworks. The brief is supported by key findings from the six assessment reports of the MECLEP project.