Environmental degradation, climate change and migration are not new to the global community. However, managing these phenomena has become both more challenging and more critical to ensuring human security and sustainable development. Not only are gradual and sudden forms of environmental change acquiring greater magnitude, but they are likely to lead to ever increasing waves of internal and international migration, including mass human displacement. Migration is also having a demonstrable impact - at times positive, at others negative - on the environment in communities of origin and destination. Both phenomena are figuring more prominently in the eruption of new and old conflicts.
As part of IOM’s International Dialogue on Migration, IOM and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) co-sponsored a two-day Expert Seminar on Migration and the Environment in Bangkok, Thailand on 22-23 February 2007. The aim of this seminar was to support improvements in research and policy for more effective management of the associations between migration, the environment and other intermediating social, economic and political factors. This seminar brought together 25 policy-makers, practitioners and researchers from diverse fields to explore the two-way association between migration and the environment as well as the interaction of these phenomena with security and to contribute to a more comprehensive research and policy agenda in this field.
This publication provides an account of some of the main issues discussed during the Expert Seminar on Migration and the Environment including: a) definitional issues; b) some critical dimensions of the migration and the environment nexus, inter alia: (i) the impact of gradual environmental change on migration; (ii) the impact of extreme environmental events on migration; (iii) migration’s effects on the environment; and (iv) the association with conflict potential; c) improving data and research for informed policy-making and action; d) possible policy responses and interventions; and e) the main challenges and lessons learnt and their implications for the way forward.