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Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Policy Brief Series Issue 2 | Vol. 5 | November 2019

This policy brief examines the relationship between migration, environment and climate change in coastal areas in Indonesia, where over 70 per cent of the population lives in low-elevation coastal zones (LECZs). Hydrometeorological phenomena – particularly sea-level rise, coastal erosion and flooding – are impacting livelihoods that have remained largely absent from climate-related policy and academic literature of Indonesia. Based on a series of semi-structured interviews with affected individuals and civil society and government representatives, research shows that these phenomena interact with other development challenges – particularly natural resource-dependency and poverty – resulting in detrimental effects on livelihoods in LECZs. While affected individuals and households implement a series of adaptation strategies, these only address immediate and short-term needs, which often only prolong displacement driven by permanent land loss and livelihood disruption. Moreover, affected populations experience a series of barriers to migration, including the availability of land, deteriorating land prices, the lack of financial and social capital, employment opportunities and transferable skills. The brief argues that migration can be a necessary and positive long-term adaptation strategy if well managed and calls for integration of environmental migration into national frameworks for adaptation and broader development plans.

  • Introduction
  • Internal migration patterns
  • Environment and climate change in urban coastal areas
  • Impacts of environmental changes on livelihoods
  • Adaptation strategies to environmental changes
  • Environmental migration: Enablers and constraints
  • Recommendations
  • Conclusion