30 November 2017

Climate-migration-security: Making the most of a contested relationship

This policy brief considers the interlinkages between climate change, migration and security. It argues that despite the lack of scientific consensus the potential consequences are too large to ignore and no-regret policy options should be adopted. 

Furthermore it discusses the relationship between climate change, migration and security. This relationship is academically contested. Research is inconclusive on key issues, such as how many migrants may come to Europe due to climate change. However, given the political urgency and potential scale of the issue, it is not possible to wait for academic consensus to emerge.

The relationship between youth unemployment, irregular migration and instability in the context of climate change is politically recognised as a likely risk with high impact, even though contemporary policies still focus primarily on responses to forced or irregular migration. Currently an opportunity exists to make the most of available insights and invest wisely in countries of origin.

Several no-regret policy options could be envisaged that boost (youth) employment opportunities, restore degraded lands and ecosystems, strengthen food, water and energy security and reduce inequalities between groups in society. These problems are at the core of many conflicts and contribute to instability, especially in cases of poor governance. Addressing them in an integrated way is therefore of the utmost importance to securing a sustainable future

Photo credits: European Commission-DG Echo/Flickr