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Revisiting drivers for Environmental Migration in Africa

Conference contribution
Authors Gunilla Almered Olsson
Shivcharn Dhillion
Kenneth Hermele
Stefan Permanto
Andreas Godsäter
Published in Deveopment Research Conference 2016. August 22-24, Stockholm University
Publisher Stockholm University, VR, Formas, SIDA
Place of publication Stockholm
Publication year 2016
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
School of Global Studies, Social Anthropology
School of Global Studies, Human Ecology
School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords environmental migration; Africa-EU; drivers, livelihoods; socio-economy; ecology; culture; development assistance
Subject categories Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified, Environmental Sciences, Climate Research


International migration is one of the burning global challenges for sustainable development. Environmental migration is a contested concept since destruction of livelihood conditions that leads to the deterioration of options for securing a living, is caused by a number of interacting variables such as changes in climate, land use, local and regional ecological conditions, socio-cultural-economic and political dynamics. The different factors act at different temporal and spatial scales that makes the outcome difficult to generalize for a specific site, which adds to the confusion of the interpretation and application of the concept. Yet migration due to livelihood deterioration is ongoing and environmental migrants seem to be an increasing challenge. This is also acknowledged by the EU, whose governance system related to migration does not cater for the environmental dimension. In spite of much of environmentally induced migration to the EU originates from Africa, this topic has not until recently been up on the agenda of policy discussions between the EU and Africa. The Valletta Summit on Migration, November 2015, was organised to discuss the ‘migration crisis’ experienced in Europe and Africa. The summit resulted in the EU setting up an Emergency Trust Fund to promote development in Africa, in return for African countries to help out in the crisis. We are reporting from a project on the complex interactions of different drivers acting on the local African livelihoods and thus driving migration. The aim is inform the development of sustainable governance mechanisms at different institutional levels in the EU-Africa relations.

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