The impact of climate change: migration and cities in South America

Elizabeth Warn, Susana B. Adamo
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Some of the world’s congested cities are situated in South America and many of them are homes to over 10 million people while continuing to grow. Better opportunities and higher salaries have long been the main drivers for people to move but lately, climate change is among the common factors behind rapid rural to urban migration. Cities such as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo has already stretched beyond their capacity to deliver social protection to all citizens and additional migration means resources are stretched even further. Migrants with low socioeconomic status are especially vulnerable since they often live in low lying areas with high climate risk and lack the knowledge and resources to cope with such external stress. Climate change is indiscriminate and the level of impact on vulnerable people in a country will depend on cities capacity to adapt to both environmental and social changes. This article contributes to an understanding of the relationship between cities and urban migration as well as the link to climate change.

WMO Bulletin
Volume 63 (2) - 2014