Volume 41 - Article 18 | Pages 491–544
Background: Despite an increase in scholarly and policy interest regarding the impacts of environmental change on migration, empirical knowledge in the field remains varied, patchy, and limited. Generalised discourse on environmental migration frequently oversimplifies the complex channels through which environmental change influences the migration process
Objective: This paper aims to systematise the existing empirical evidence on migration influenced by environmental change with a focus on Africa, the continent most vulnerable to climate change.
Methods: We select 53 qualitative and quantitative studies on the influence of environmental change on migration from the comprehensive Climig database and systematically analyse the literature considering the multidimensional drivers of migration.
Results: Environmental change influences migration in Africa in an indirect way by affecting other drivers of migration, including sociodemographic, economic, and political factors. How and in what direction environmental change influences migration depends on socioeconomic and geographical contexts, demographic characteristics, and the type and duration of migration.
Conclusions: The contextually contingent nature of migration–environment relationships prevents us from drawing a universal conclusion, whether environmental change will increase or suppress migration in Africa. However, this study unravels the complex interactions between the nature and duration of the environmental pressure, the livelihood of the populations, the role of kinship ties and the role of demographic differentials on migration response.
Contribution: The review provides an initial systematic and comprehensive summary of empirical evidence on the environmental drivers of migration in Africa. It also discusses the implications of the scale, materials, and methods used in the 53 studies.
- Marion Borderon - Universität Wien, Austria EMAIL
- Patrick Sakdapolrak - Universität Wien, Austria EMAIL
- Raya Muttarak - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria EMAIL
- Endale Kebede - Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Austria EMAIL
- Raffaella Pagogna - Universität Wien, Austria EMAIL
- Eva Sporer - Universität Wien, Austria EMAIL
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