Addressing climate change and migration in Asia and the Pacific

5 Apr 2012

This report marks the conclusion of an ADB-financed technical assistance project launched to generate policy responses to migration stimulated by climate-related factors.
It represents the first significant effort to identify policy and other responses to impacts of environment events on human mobility within the Asia and Pacific region. Extreme environmental events are increasingly recognized as a key driver of migration across the world. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, more than 42 million people were displaced in Asia and the Pacific during 2010 and 2011, more than twice the population of Sri Lanka. This figure includes those displaced by storms, floods, and heat and cold waves. Still others were displaced drought and sea-level rise.
Most of those compelled to leave their homes eventually returned when conditions improved, but an undetermined number became migrants, usually within their country, but also across national borders. Asia and the Pacific is the global area most prone to natural disasters, both in terms of the absolute number of disasters and of populations affected. It is highly exposed to climate impacts, and is home to highly vulnerable population groups, who are disproportionately poor and marginalized.
The report highlights “environmental hot spots” that are particular risk of flooding, cyclones, typhoons, and water stress. Climate-induced migration is a highly complex issue which needs to be understood as part of global migration dynamics. Migration typically has multiple causes, and environmental factors are intertwined with other social and economic factors, which themselves can be influenced by environmental changes. Environmental migration should not be treated solely as a discrete category, set apart from other migration flows.

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