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Climate change and migration

Climate change has a significant impact on global migration flows and refugee movements. Rising temperatures, more extreme weather and changing environmental conditions are affecting the livelihoods of many people, especially in particularly vulnerable regions. These changes can influence migration in various ways:

  • Environmental displacement: Extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones can force communities to leave their homes in search of shelter. This leads to temporary or permanent migration.
  • Loss of livelihoods: Changes in agriculture and water resources can lead to crop failures and economic difficulties. People could be forced to move to areas where their livelihoods are better protected.
  • Exacerbation of conflicts: Resource scarcity, particularly in connection with water scarcity and agricultural problems, can intensify existing conflicts or trigger new ones. This can cause people to flee from conflicts.
  • Sea level rise and coastal areas: Climate change is causing sea levels to rise, which poses a significant threat to people in coastal areas. As a result, a large number of people could be forced to move to safer areas.
  • Health challenges: Climate change contributes to disease outbreaks, which in turn can affect migration. More extreme heat conditions could also force people to flee from health risks.

These interrelationships have complex effects on international migration patterns. People could migrate within their own countries, which is referred to as “internal migration”, or cross international borders, which leads to “climate refugees”. This form of migration not only poses a humanitarian challenge, but can also exacerbate geopolitical tensions and emphasize the importance of international cooperation.

Long-term solutions are needed to meet these challenges. This includes adapting communities to climate change, protecting livelihoods, promoting sustainable agriculture and developing policies to tackle environmentally induced migration. International cooperation is crucial to tackle the impact of climate change on migration in a fair way and to provide protection and support to the people affected.

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