Monday, February 14, 2011

Climate change: Another reason to move

Jakarta Post: Extreme weather caused by climate change variables has given another reason for people to migrate, experts say. Asia Development Bank (ADB) is preparing a report called “Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific”, which is scheduled to be completed in March. ADB has been looking into migration patterns in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking linkages to natural disasters such as flooding.

ADB recently held an online discussion regarding the report, hosting ADB’s Climate Change Program Coordination Unit chief Robert J. Dobias and Francois Gemenne, a research fellow at the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). More than 40 participants across the Asia-Pacific region joined the discussion.

Dobias said the report took the position that climate-induced migration was currently a relatively minor driver of migration because motivations to move were myriad. “It may be best to consider climate-induced migrations within the context of migration, generally. However, being able to attribute migration to climate change may become important in the context of funding,” he said.

He said that while the report had taken a preliminary step by identifying areas that may be especially vulnerable to climate-induced migration, more refined work was needed. By focusing development assistance in areas of high vulnerability, people could build resilience in their communities, he added.

Gemenne said climate-induced migration could be caused by natural disasters, such as flash floods and hurricanes, or slower catastrophes like rising sea levels and soil degradation. Therefore, the types of migration could be very diverse. Certain people would be forced to move because of a displacement situation, while others might move voluntarily, he said….

An aerial view of a refugee camp in the city of Sabang on Pulau We Island, Indonesia. US Navy photo

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