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05 oct 2016

Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Kenya

In the framework of the European Union–funded Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP) project, the Republic of Kenya (hereafter Kenya) is one of the six pilot countries. The country was selected as it is prone to extreme events. In fact, since 1964, a total of 58.66 million people were affected by droughts, floods and related epidemics, and the frequency of events has escalated in the last two decades and a half. 

This report compiles information from an extensive number of sources, including academic and working papers, publications and reports conducted by national and international organizations, research institutes and NGOs, as well as government policy documents. It offers two main and complementary outcomes: (a) presents human mobility patterns due to environmental change, creating Kenya’s migration-environment map; and (b) offers guidance for Kenya’s policymakers by analysing the legal framework related to environmental migration. This report also offers insights for a coherent policy development framed on the National Climate Change Action Plan’s (NCCAP) agendas.  

It was concluded that the existing national policies do not provide a coherent framework to address the linkages between environmental and climate change with migration in the country. Furthermore, given the diversity of livelihoods in Kenya, a set of approaches to enhance environmental and climate change resilience for different scenarios is crucial. It was also found that enhancing the adaptive capacity of Kenya’s population to environmental and climate change, especially for the poor, would reduce the high levels of poverty in the country. In this context, a common platform for inter-agency and interministerial coordination is needed to enhance coherent policies for migration as adaptation and prevent forced migration in the context of environmental and climate change. 

This publication is one of six national assessments to be published under the MECLEP project. Assessment reports have been published on the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Papua Nueva Guinea. The reports on Mauritius and Viet Nam are forthcoming.

  • List of tables, maps and figures
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
    • I. Introduction 
      • I.1. Methodology
      • I.2. Background and context
        • I.2.a. Geography and climate of Kenya
        • I.2.b. Population 
        • I.2.c. Human development 
        • I.2.d. Economy
        • I.2.e. Transportation infrastructure
        • I.2.f. Political system
      • I.3. Migration – Evidences from the past
        • I.3.a. Migration and displacement triggered by colonial and postcolonial politics
        • I.3.b. Internal displacement 
        • I.3.c. Pastoralist mobility 
        • I.3.d. Internal migration and urbanization
        • I.3.e. Cross-border migration
        • I.3.f. Internal and international remittances
    • II. Key challenges: The migration, environment and climate change nexus
      • II.1. Environmental challenges
        • II.1.a. Environmental and climate change in Kenya
        • II.1.b. Weather extremes in Kenya: The normal, abnormal and global warming
      • II.2. Sudden-onset events
        • II.2.a. Floods
        • II.2.b. Landslides 
        • II.2.c. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
        • II.2.d. Wildfires
      • II.3. Slow-onset events
        • II.3.a. Drought 
        • II.3.b. Desertification
        • II.3.c. Land and forest degradation
        • II.3.d. Soil erosion and declining soil fertility
        • II.3.e. Sea-level rise and coastal erosion
        • II.3.f. Glacial retreat and related impacts
        • II.3.g. Loss of biodiversity
      • II.4. Vulnerability mapping
        • II.4.a. Environmental vulnerability of different economic sectors
        • II.4.b. Vulnerability of livelihoods
        • II.4.c. Potential effects of migration on vulnerability
    • III. Prospects for evidence-based policymaking
      • III.1. Analysis of relevant existing and pending policy frameworks
        • III.1.a. Migration in climate policies
        • III.1.b. Relevant provisions of the Constitution of Kenya
        • III.1.c. Disaster response policies
        • III.1.d. Disaster-related displacement and planned relocation
        • III.1.e. Development and conservation-based displacement and planned relocation
        • III.1.f. Urbanization and housing and settlement planning
        • III.1.g. Population planning
        • III.1.h. Protection of vulnerable groups and stabilization of livelihoods
        • III.1.i. Labour migration, remittances and development
      • III.2. Starting points for further research and policy development
        • III.2.a. Improving resilience of communities of origin and of destination of (potential) migrants
        • III.2.b. Planned relocation as a form of State-sponsored adaptation
        • III.2.c. Taking advantage of migration as adaptation
        • III.2.d. Need for further evidence and coordination
    • IV. Conclusion 
  • Bibliography