Assessing the Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration Nexus in South Asia
To address the challenges encountered by South Asian countries, i.e. lack of evidence of the nexus and integrated environment-migration strategies alongside limited community this project carried out an assessment study, field research and national consultations in Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal, followed by a regional level dissemination meeting. The three countries have several commonalities including high rates of urbanization and international migration (though the Maldives is an exception as it witnesses net in-migration), while also being exposed to diverse climatic events.
Findings suggest that relationship between climate change and migration is complex and indirect, and decisions to migrate depend on a number of social, economic, environmental and political factors. Although at present, non-climatic factors (such as poverty, land ownership, and access to basic services, employment and household size) dominate the rational for migration in perception of those affected, climate change and environmental degradation already plan and important role and will gain importance in the decision making process for migration. All three countries have clearly acknowledged the need to develop policy instruments to address climate change at national, sub national and local level. Based on the findings from these three countries a regional strategy framework (covering areas such as enhanced data and research, improving awareness and understanding links between climate change, environment degradation and migration at regional level, capacity building and strengthening regional coordination) has been recommended to address migration related to climate change and environment degradation in line with commitments made at the regional level through South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Plan of Action and the Paris agreement at the global level.