© IOM 2009 (photo: Francois Gemenne)

In the context of the Republic of Mauritius, the relationship between climate change and migration becomes particularly clear. Indeed, changes in climatological variables such as rainfall, storm occurrences, humidity, temperature, sea-level rise (slow-onset processes) are already having an impact on communities in both the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues. Moreover, Mauritius’ location in the South West Indian Ocean makes it highly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and thus to natural disasters.  


MECLEP publications on Mauritius: 

  • Sobhee, K. and J. Blocher, 2015. Using migration to develop resilience against climate change in Mauritius. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Volume 1, Issue 11. IOM, Geneva. Available from here


 Basic Facts

 Geographic location

 Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar


 1.2 million (2015)


 2,040 km²

 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita  PPP

 USD18,585.4 (2014)

 Income level

 Upper middle income

 Human Development Index (HDI) Rank

 63rd out of 187 countries

Population, 2011, based on data from the United Nations Population Fund's The State of World Population 2011.
Area refers to Total Surface Area Data from UNSD Demographic Statistics 2008, United Nations Statistics Division.
Gross Domestic Product (Purchasing Power Parity). The sum value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year valued at prices prevailing in the United States of America. GDP Per Capita (PPP), 2010, is Gross Domestic Product on a Purchasing Power Parity basis divided by the population. GDP Per Capita PPP based on data from the World Bank's World Development Indicators. Data are in current international dollars.
Income level. Income levels show the income category of a particular country as identified by the World Bank. For more information on income level, including the methodology used by the World Bank, please visit the World Bank’s Country Classification.
Human Development Index (HDI). A composite indicator that measures development and human progress based on health, education, and purchasing power. The higher the HDI rank, the higher a country's level of development. HDI Rank, 2011, based on data from the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2011.


 Migration patterns

 Net Migration Rate


Total Migrant Stock


 Women as a Percentage of Immigrants

 63.3 %

 Number of Refugees

 * Not Available **94

 Number of Internally Displaced Persons  (IDPs)

 *Not Available **Not Available ***Not Available

 Urbanization rate

 0.57% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

 Remittances (in-flows)

  •  2.1% per GDP (2013)
  •  A large proportion of migrants from Mauritius are students who went to study abroad IOM (2014).

 Internal remittances

  • Only a small percentage (31.5%) of Rodriguan workers settled in mainland Mauritius use to send remittances to their families in Rodrigues: this is probably due to the fact that the income Rodriguan workers derive from the jobs they perform in Mauritius is generally low (IOM, 2011).

Net Migration Rate, 2010-2015. The difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1,000 persons. An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration (e.g., 3.56 migrants/1,000 population); an excess of persons leaving the country is referred to as net emigration (e.g., -9.26 migrants/1,000 population). Net Migration Rate based on data from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division's World Population Prospects: the 2015 Revision Population Database.
Total Migrant Stock. Estimated number of international migrants at mid-year, 2013.  United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division's World Population Prospects: the 2013 Revision Population Database.
Women as a Percentage of Immigrants. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division's World Population Prospects: the 2008 Revision Population Database.
Number of RefugeesUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2014. *Residing in country/ **Originating from country
Number of IDPsInternal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2015. *IDPs newly displaced by disasters / **IDPs newly displaced by conflict and violence / *** IDPs displaced by conflict and violence (protracted displacement).
Urbanization rate: Average Annual Rate of Change of the Urban Population by Major Area, Region and Country, 1950-2050 (per cent) as per the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision.
Remittances in-flows. World Bank staff calculation based on data from IMF Balance of Payments Statistics database and data releases from central banks, national statistical agencies, and World Bank country desks.


 Environmental Facts and Changes

Environmental performance index

 56th out of 178 countries

Long-term climate change risk  index 

 81st out of 159 countries (1994-2013)

 22nd out of 159 countries (2013)

World risk index

 14th out of 171 countries

ND-GAIN country index

 49th out of 180 countries

Significant disaster events

 Date                            Type                                 Total Deaths

 25/01/1991          Storm/Tropical cyclone             

 09/02/1994          Storm/Tropical cyclone                      2

 09/12/1996          Storm/Tropical cyclone                      3

 10/03/1999          Storm/Tropical cyclone

 00/01/1999          Drought

 22/01/2002          Storm/Tropical cyclone                      3

 25/02/2007          Storm/Tropical cyclone                      2

 30/03/2013          Flash Flood                                         11


 Environmental change


  • Slow-onset events and rapid on-set disasters
  • Sea-Level Rise
  • Increasing Temperature
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Salinization
  • Land and Forest Degradation
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Coastal erosion
  • Declining Soil Fertility
  • Drought


  • Tropical Cyclones
  • Storm Surges
  • Floods and Flash Floods
  • Land Slides
  • There is evidence that from 1950 to 2001, sea-level has risen by 7.8 cm in Mauritius and 6.7 cm in Rodrigues (MMS, 2014). Such tendency resulted in beach erosion, loss of bays and severe damages to built-up areas around the coast.
  • Moreover, temperature in recent years has been rising by 0.15 degree per decade compared to long term mean (MMS, 2014).
  • Another problem is ocean acidification which provoked coral bleaching in different sites around the island. Land and Forest Degradation is also a major issue for the country: MOESD (2013c) reported that Mauritius has only 2 per cent of the native forest cover that used to exist prior to human settlements.
  • Mauritius often experiences strong storms during the summer, especially when tropical cyclones pass over or near the island. Strong storms highly increase the risk of flooding and landslides in different regions of the island.

 Climate change impacts

  • Ecosystems and livelihoods
  • The Government of Mauritius (2013a) reported that climate change has very serious implications on the economic sectors of the Republic of Mauritius as well as on people’s livelihoods.
  • Tropical cyclones, heavy rainfalls, drought periods and increase in air temperature impact on the output and income of production as well as services sectors. Main impacts:
    • Reduction of agricultural output and income
    • Reduction in livestock
    • Land slides
    • Marine pollution and dislocation of fish stocks
    • Threats to water resources
    • Changes in coastal morphology
    • Threats to private and public infrastructure
    • Increasing health hazards (skin disorders, asthma, water and vector-borne diseases, among others)
    • Water shortages

Environmental performance index. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems (2014).
Long-term climate change risk index. The Global Climate Risk Index 2015 analyses to what extent countries have been affected by the impacts of weather-related loss events (storms, floods, heat waves etc.). The most recent data available – from 2013 and 1994–2013 – were taken into account.
World risk index. The WorldRiskIndex developed by UNU-EHS describes the disaster risk for various countries and regions. The main focus of the report is the threat from, or exposure to key natural hazards and the rise in sea level caused by climate change, as well as social vulnerability in the form of the population’s susceptibility and their capacity for coping and adaptation.
ND-GAIN Country Index. A project of the University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), summarizes a country's vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges in combination with its readiness to improve resilience.
Significant disaster events. Based on EM-DAT, which contains essential core data on the occurance and effects of over 18,000 mass disasters in the world from 1900 to present.


 Adaptation policies
 National Laws and Policies, Regional frameworks

Climate Change and Adaptation Policies

 Inclusion of Migration

2013 - the National Report of the Republic of Mauritius

  • The importance of migration within the context of climate change and regional integration is highlighted.

2015 - INDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) submitted for the Twenty-first Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris (COP21)

  • Migration described as an « undesired outcome of failed adaptation » to climate change (Government of Mauritius, 2015:3).


IOM Country Specialists

  • Timon van Lidth - Head of Office, IOM Mauritius.

For more information on IOM’s activities in Mauritius:

Key Documents / References

Government of Mauritius (GoM)
1999   National Environmental Strategies for the Republic of Mauritius: National Environmental Action Plan for the Next Decade. Environmental Resources Management, Cavendish Square, London.
2013a  Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States - National Report of the Republic of Mauritius. Government Printing Department, Port-Louis.
2013b  Contingency Plan to Counter Infectious Diseases in Port Louis. Government Information System (GIS). Available from
2015   Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the Republic of Mauritius. 28 September 2015. Available from Published%20Documents/Mauritius/1/ Final%20INDC%20for%20Mauritius%2028%20Sept%202015.pdf

International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
2010  The Other Migrants Preparing for Change – Environmental Changes and Migration in the Republic of Mauritius – An Assessment Report. IOM, Geneva.
2011  Migrant Fishers from Rodrigues to Mauritius. IOM, Geneva.
2012  Assessing the Socio-Economic Vulnerability and Health Characteristics of Migrants from Rodrigues in Mauritius. IOM, Geneva.
2014  Migration in Mauritius: A Country Profile 2013. IOM and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Geneva.
(forthcoming) Opportunities and Challenges of Migration in Building Resiliance against Climate Change. Migration, Environment & Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP), National Assessment, Republic of Mauritius.

Kelpsaite, L. and E. Mach
2015  Migration as adaptation? A comparative analysis of policy frameworks on the environment and development in MECLEP countries. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Volume 1, Issue 5. IOM, Geneva. Available from

Mauritius Meteorological Services (MMS)
2014  Climate Change. Available from

Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MOESD) 
2012  National Climate Change Adaptation Policy Framework for the Republic of Mauritius. Government of Mauritius (GOM), Port Louis.
2013a   Climate Change. Impacts of Climate Change on Small Island Developing States. Available from
2013c   Maurice Ile Durable – Policy, Strategy and Action Plan. Government Printing Department, Port Louis.

Sobhee, K. and J. Blocher
2015  Using migration to develop resilience against climate change in Mauritius. Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy Brief Series, Volume 1, Issue 11. IOM, Geneva. Available from