Key messages on Migration and Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD)


Photo courtesy of last two images: Giulia Tabacco / Sunugal 2016.

Photo courtesy of last two images: Giulia Tabacco / Sunugal 2016.

Visit the UNCCD website


On 26 November 2014 in Geneva, IOM and UNCCD signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the 105th session of the IOM Council, the Organization’s supreme governing body. The MOU signature officially launched a structured collaboration on the land-migration nexus. The partnership aims to increase understanding of challenges and opportunities related to the interlinkages between human mobility and land degradation and create political momentum to bring these questions across global policy agendas. The IOM-UNCCD strategy for action focuses on three key areas of collaboration: (a) climate change adaptation; (b) rights and security; and (c) sustainable development. 

The land-migration nexus also offers several opportunities that are yet to be appreciated, for instance in the context of other international processes, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The challenge that IOM and UNCCD have to face by working together is transforming the vicious cycle of land degradation-migration-land degradation into a virtuous cycle.

Securing land productivity is the first step to grounding opportunities for people in their home and land communities.


"The path to a peaceful and secure future is paved with decisive actions against losing more productive land. Migration is often a last-resort option for those experiencing water shortages and crop failures. Rehabilitating land, making it profitable again and creating stable jobs gives people options to stay or move to the closest place where opportunities are offered".

Monique Barbut, Former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

"Migration should be part of the toolbox that we consider on how we can best deal with land degradation and related pressures. It is also important to underline that, no matter whether endorsed and promoted by public policies or not,migration and mobility will be one of the ways in which people will deal with increasingly hostile and unfriendly environments".

Ambassador Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) 


Migration and Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDG logos


In line with Goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals, IOM in collaboration with the UNCCD is mobiliizing financial resources of diasporas to combat desertification and restore degraded land. In the framework of Promoting sustainable land management in migration-prone areas through innovative financing mechanisms project funded by the Italian Foreign Ministry's Italian Development Cooperation we provide support to West African countries, especially Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal, to integrate the sustainable land management (SLM) - migration nexus into their development and budgetary policies; to increase economic opportunities and improve the investment climate for SLM in specific geographic areas subject to desertification and migration; and to disseminate best SLM practices in West Africa and their funding in pertinent international fora. This innovative partnership of IOM and UNCCD recognizes and promotes the importance of diaspora investments as a key source of private capital for development.

Visit the project website

IOM in partnership with the UNCCD developed the map on Environment, Migration and Remittances as part of the West Africa project, which is also featured in the Atlas of Environmental Migration.  


Map of Senegal


Regional Workshop: Land Degradation, Climate Change and Migration in West Africa

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Government of Burkina Faso, with the support of the GM of the UNCCD, IOM and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), are organizing the regional workshop Land Degradation, Climate Change and Migration in West Africa: Policy Implications for Building Resilience and Preventing Security Challenges, taking place in Ouagadougou in May 2016.

The main objective of the workshop is to identify strategies to address the challenges related to the nexus between climate change, Desertification, Land Degradation & Drought (DLDD) and migration at national and regional level, as well as to highlight and analyze the policy implications for building resilience and preventing security challenges. The workshop will be the occasion to exchange and discuss among government officials from Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal, high-level representatives of the ECOWAS, experts and international partners around the following topics:

  1. Analyzing how DLDD, climate change and migration are interlinked in West Africa,
  2. Exploring how resilience-driven mobility as well as the availability and access to resources, institutional networks and social capital influence the demographics of the region,
  3. Discussing potential innovative financing sources and mechanisms to promote SLM in migration-prone areas,
  4. Acquiring a better knowledge on good practices and prospects for an improved involvement of migrants and diaspora in land rehabilitation and adaptation to climate change initiatives,
  5. Paving the way for designing regional and national policies that comprehensively address root causes of migration driven by DLDD and promote opportunities for people on the move within the region,
  6. Discussing how to strengthen regional and international cooperation to monitor new trends of migration and prevent security challenges,
  7. Identifying ways and means to intensify the dialogue between ECOWAS, its Member States and its international partners, namely the European Union, on DLDD, climate change and migration.
  8. Assessing how international partners such as the EU and NATO can contribute to project more stability in the region through capacity building and training.


Draft Agenda


Related Links


IOM and UNCCD launch a partnership to jointly address the negative cycle of land degradation-forced migration

UNCCD’s GM and IOM Collaborate on Land Degradation and Migration in West Africa

Africa occidentale: gestione sostenibile del territorio in aree a rischio di migrazione attraverso meccanismi di finanziamento innovativi

Resilience starts at Ground-Level

Key Resources on migration, environment, climate change and desertification

Read Governments agree on measures to help migrants fleeing degrading lands by Mariam Traore Chazalnoël

Addressing the Land Degradation – Migration Nexus: The Role of the UNCCD

Key COP Decisions on Migration

ICCD/COP(14)/23 - Report of the Conference of the Parties on its fourteenth session

IOM Geneva Newsletter

The Migration Newsdesk Special Edition: World Environment Day 2017 (June 2017)

The Migration Newsdesk Special Edition: Human Mobility at COP22 (Nov 2016)

The Migration Newsdesk Special Edition: Human Mobility at COP21 (Nov 2015)


Portal Newsletter

March 2017

Past issues, please visit here