Original Language
Number of Pages
Reference Number
Date of upload

08 Oct 2021

Environmental Migration, Disaster Displacement and Planned Relocation in West Africa

Also available in:

West Africa carries a long history of human mobility in relation to environmental changes, and intraregional mobility still represents the most significant feature of migration in the region. Besides being among the most highly affected by climate change in the future, the West Africa region needs particular attention due to the prevalence of agriculture in its economy and the majority of its rural population depending on the environment. Available evidence focuses on internal displacement, and recorded data and examples of cross-border displacement in the context of disasters is hard to find. As most cross-border disaster-displacement takes place within the region, the roles of regional and subregional organizations, such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is key to developing integrated responses. 

This desk review focuses on the links between migration, displacement and planned relocation, and disasters, adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation in West Africa, and the policies to address them. It is part of the project, Implementing Global Policies on Environmental Migration and Disaster Displacement in West Africa, which aims at minimizing displacement in the context of disasters, environmental degradation and climate change in the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) region by facilitating regular pathways for migration.  

  • Acknowledgements
  • Acronyms
  • Introduction
  • 1. Overview of human mobility in West Africa in contexts of disasters, adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation
    • 1.1. Key concepts
    • 1.2. Trends in West Africa
    • 1.3. Environmental migration in West Africa
      • 1.3.1. Circular migration, agriculture and drought
      • 1.3.2. Changes in pastoralism and natural resources-related tensions
      • 1.3.3. Migration, environment, climate change and conflict
    • 1.4. Disaster-induced internal displacement in West Africa
    • 1.5. Planned relocation in West Africa
      • 1.5.1. Planned relocation, coastal erosion and fishing communities
    • 1.6. Data challenges and limitations
    • 1.7. Summary
  • 2. Policy horizons for West Africa
    • 2.1. Global
    • 2.2. Regional: The African Union
      • 2.2.1. The African Union and human mobility policy
      • 2.2.2. The African Union and climate change policy
      • 2.2.3. The African Union and disaster management policy 
    • 2.3. Subregional: The Economic Community of West African States and the Community of Sahel–Saharan States
      • 2.3.1. The Economic Community of West African States
      • 2.3.2. The Community of Sahel–Saharan States
    • 2.4. Other initiatives
    • 2.5. Summary
  • 3. Recommendations for the way forward 
  • Annex. Relevant information and data on West African countries
  • Bibliography