1 April 2019

DIIS' new research programme on climate, mobility and governance

Understanding the impacts of climate change on human mobility is a serious challenge for the 21st century. 
DIIS’ new interdisciplinary research programme ‘Governing Climate Mobility’ (GCM) for the period 2019-2022 sets out to address this challenge. The programme examines how differing governance contexts, national and local, affect adaptive climate mobility. It will be conducted in partnership with researchers from the Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana and the Forum for Social Studies, Ethiopia.
The Governing Climate Mobility programme’s focus on governance factors is a novel approach that offers a valuable contribution to understandings of climate-related mobility. Currently, explanations of climate-related mobility lack insight into the role of governance at the local level. Yet governance factors, such as local infrastructure, legal frameworks or support to livelihoods, are known to be crucial for local climate change adaptation. They are therefore potentially pivotal in shaping individuals’ and households’ mobility options and decisions in climate change affected areas. 

The GCM programme focuses specifically on peri-urban and rural areas of Ethiopia and Ghana that are affected by slow-onset climate change such as long-term trends in temperature rise and changing weather patterns. 

Climate mobility

The programme uses the term climate mobility to cover mobility practices linked to climate change - such as migration, resettlement, displacement, and forced immobility.
It can be individual or family-based, temporary or permanent, within or across borders.

Knowledge on the implications of such slow-onset changes is limited, yet effects such as increasing temperatures or shifts in precipitation patterns can impact significantly on local livelihoods, with implications for mobility practices.
The new insights the research programme will support evidence-based policies for adaptive climate-related mobility. The programme’s findings will be used to identify opportunities and gaps in local and national government policies that affect climate mobility, as well as providing input for international governance.