In the first months of 2018 three studies recently published by the World Bank (WB), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) prominently addressed the link between degradation of land, water stress and higher food prices with migration. Whereas academic debate on the contribution of climate change and other environmental stresses to migration is ongoing, international organisations published comprehensive reports underlining the need to act now. The FAO and WB shied away from the more politically sensitive issue of irregular migration from Africa to Europe. Neither do the reports quantify to what extent interventions in the sphere of land, food and water could play a role in preventing migration and inﬂuence decisions to return.
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This news alert provides a short and comprehensive analysis & summary of three important new reports:
The World Bank: Groundswell, Preparing for Internal Climate Migration: This report assesses the potential impact of climate change on internal migration and displacement. It argues that, by 2050, 143 million people will be considered climate migrants if no preventive policies are implemented.
FAO: “Water stress and human migration: a global, georeferenced review of empirical research: This report is an assessment of the
linkage between water-stressed areas and migration. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the UN, with the empirical backing of 184 peer-reviewed research papers, assumes a correlation between the two phenomena. While acknowledging that migration is at its core part of a multi-faceted situation which includes high temperature, lack of economic opportunities, unemployment and endemic violence, it stresses that the literature does come close to a consensus that water stress can encourage migration.
IPBES: Thematic assessment of land degradation and restoration: IPBES compiled the multidisciplinary knowledge base of more
than 3,000 scientific, government, indigenous and local knowledge sources published in the last three years. The report was adopted
by representatives of governments after a process of extensive peer-review consisting of more than 7,300 comments from over 200 external reviewers.