Climate-induced migration set to rise

Our Bureau Kozhikode | Updated on February 09, 2011

At a time when concerns over effects of climate change keep governments and other global agencies looking for means to overcome them, a forthcoming report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has urged the countries in Asia and the Pacific to prepare for a large increase in climate-induced migration.

The report points to the temporary or long-term dislocation of millions of people in the past year in the wake of extreme weather conditions experienced in Malaysia, Pakistan, China, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The process will accelerate in the coming decades as climate change leads to more extreme weather conditions.

At present, there is no international cooperation mechanism to manage the migrations and schemes to assist and protect the population remain inadequate, the report says and calls upon the national governments and international community to urgently address the issue in a proactive manner.

The full report, which is expected to be released in March this year, also highlights specific risks confronting megacities in the coastal areas of Asia. These “hotspots” already face pressure from swelling populations resulting from more and more rural people seeking new lives in the cities. The problem is compounded by dislocation of people caused by flooding and tropical storms.

Varying vulnerability

According to Mr Bart W. Edes, Director of ADB's Poverty Reduction, Gender and Social Development Division, climate-induced migration will affect poor and vulnerable people more than others. “In many places, those least capable of coping with the severe weather and environmental degradation will be compelled to move with few assets to an uncertain future,” he says.

The report, however, notes that “if properly managed, the climate-induced migration can actually facilitate human adaptation, creating new opportunities for dislocated populations in less vulnerable environments.”

Published on February 08, 2011

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