Migration and Global Environmental Change

This report uses a livelihood approach to understanding migration patterns in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ecuador, and Nepal. The livelihood approach shares modeling similarities with the New Economics of Labour Migration approach and, as such, includes natural resources as a fundamental source of analysis for movement and mobility. Due to the incomplete nature of scientific information on the evolving state of global environmental change, the author promotes the understanding that an understanding of human movement off of environmental reasons is too subject to error to provide accuracy. Thus, established patterns of contextual, qualitative reasons for human migration are the most accurate for future predictions and adaptive scenarios. –Adriane Holter
Tacoli, C., 2011. Migration and Global Environmental Change. International Institute for Environment and Development: UK Government’s Foresight Project.
It is interesting to note the argument and source of the paper. Although the author notes that the views in the project do not express any standard governmental opinion, the thrust of the argument focuses on policy issues in a way that isolates environmental factors from such a label. As such, the effects of environmental change are made to sound uncontrollable and therefore free from regulation. For example, refers to the scientific community’s inability to attain baseline data for migration flows as one reason why it is questionable to use environmental analysis to promote the sole rationale for induced human migration. The uncertainty of environmental change in political debates may be one cause for such a characterization of its role in human migration as presented by a governmental source.
The core of the author’s argument rests on the premise that human migration must be understood in full context in order to develop a competent coping mechanism to address the associated issues. To achieve substantive analysis, the author uses a non-static livelihood approach, meaning that new data and evolving living situations are considered and implemented into the report. Real world scenarios are then taken from previous studies in the four selected regions with the Burkina Faso and Nepal cases also look at non-migrants, while Ghana and Ecuador primarily consider migrant populations.
The main point of analysis in the study is derived from the luivlihood issues that surround any environmental reasons for migration discovered by any of the cited empirical studies. Human capital, defined as education and skills, has a large impact on movement, especially in rural-urban movement. Similar in importance, sustainability. At the point where living conditions become unsustainable in a region, those persons who are able to migrate are better off than those who are unable and must then remain in unfavorable living conditions. It is thus necessary that non-migrants existing in geographic zones where large amounts of migration have occurred be treated as a vulnerable population. Ultimately, the author states that migration and human movement is on an increasing upswing from current rates with environmental change as a driving cause.
The author concludes by offering the recommendation that policy makers become aware of and positively attempt to implement programs that address the increasingly prevalent role of human movement in societies. These understandings should also be coupled with the knowledge that economic considerations also greatly impact who moves and to where. On the national level, some countries, such as the Nepal case study, have used the situation of human migration to create a national strategy of economic development. Ways to achieve the link between human movement, policy, and economic sustainability include education, access to markets, land holdings, and access to resources and labor. In order to avoid the impact of extreme migration patterns due to environmental disasters, policies adopted to appropriately address such a situation should also be developed.

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