Increased Migration

By Susanne Melde

Susanne Melde, Research and Policy Officer, Migration & Environment, is the coordinator of the Migration, environment and climate change: Evidence for policy (MECLEP) project at the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) of IOM in Berlin, Germany. Her 8 years of experience at the International Organization for Migration focus on linking research and policy, with a particular focus on countries of the global South.

In 2014, 19.3 million people were forced to leave their houses and were displaced within their countries due mostly to floods and storms but also to earthquakes and volcano eruptions—almost twice as many as those newly displaced by violent conflicts. Evidence shows that climate change is leading to human mobility and will continue to do so. But in what ways?

The availability of natural resources has always been a factor in the decision to migrate. Natural resources are unevenly distributed, and some places become unsuitable for maintaining a livelihood.  Climate change is exacerbating the slow processes of environmental degradation, such as desertification, sea level rise, and salinization. At the same time, extreme weather events, such as cyclones, floods, and droughts have become more severe and frequent.

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