At the 18th UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, the findings of an innovative comparative study has confirmed that rainfall variability and food insecurity are key drivers for human mobility in developing nations.
An empirical research carried out by CARE International and the United Nations University in eight countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America reveals that migration is an important risk management strategy for vulnerable households.
Tanzania and Ghana were two African countries involved in the research.
Land scare households trying to cope with food insecurity send migrants during the hunger season to find food or money to buy food, reads a report study titled Where the Rain Falls: climate change, food and livelihood security, and migration.
â€œOur evidence based research shows that rural people perceive climate changes happening today in the form of rainfall variability. The changes in the timing, quality, quantity and overall predictability of rainfall affect householdâ€™s risk management decisions, including migration,â€ stated Dr. Koko Warner, scientific director of the project, Where the Rain Falls.
â€œEven though we have seen that the levels of food insecurity vary across the sites, migration decisions were more linked to rainfall in places where the dependence on rain-fed agriculture was high and local livelihood diversification options were low.
â€œWhen we look into the future, our modeling results of Tanzania show that migration from vulnerable households could double over the next 25 years under the most extreme drying scenario,â€ she added.
Tonya Rawe, senior policy advocate for CARE US said the communities that participated in the research have tenuous livelihoods and as the impacts of climate change increase-like floods or drought or shifting seasons and rainfall patterns-they move closer to the edge of crisis.
â€œThey need real policy and practice solutions today, at all levels, including here in the UNFCCC. As impacts increase, households grow more vulnerable and have less capacity to adapt, potentially leading to more migration driven by hunger, undertaken as a last resort, and further increasing vulnerability,â€ she continued.
Kevin Henry project coordinator for CARE France explained that â€œthis nuanced understanding of how climate change factors affect migration decisions can help shape both policies and adaptation investments that ensure that, whatever strategies households use, including migration, will contribute to increased resilience to climate change.â€
â€œIf national and global policy makers do not act quickly-both to mitigate global warming and support rural communities to adapt in situ, food insecurity and emigration from areas most negatively affected by climate change are likely to grow in the coming decades, with all humanitarian, political, and security consequences that entails,â€ underscored Henry.