KAS African Climate Perspectives on Migration - Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Middle East and North Africa
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Migration movements on the African continent are often perceived as a result of armed conflicts or lack of economic perspectives, little attention is paid to migration movements that are directly or indirectly linked to climate change. However, droughts, water shortages or flooding of islands and coastal areas as a consequence of global warming can lead to entire regions becoming uninhabitable in the medium term. In addition to internal migration, transnational migration of individuals and groups from their original habitats is also expected.
Studies estimate that climate change could possibly led to migration of 85 million people in Sub-Sahara Africa by 2050, and North Africa will have to partially deal with this demographic shift. However, reliable statements on the expected dimension are lacking. The challenges are manifold: Due to the absence of a legal basis for environmental migrants in current international jurisprudence, there is currently no legal basis for the recognition of this group of persons. Furthermore, environmental migration cannot be reduced to a single cause, as the interaction of many factors is decisive for the decision to migrate. These can include economic reasons triggered by environmental change as well as conflicts or wars that originate from the unequal distribution of resources. Whether migration will be the response to sudden or creeping environmental changes will in turn have a significant impact on the number of migrants within a given period of time.
In addition, African countries experience an unprecedented population growth. While this demographic development can create new opportunities, it might also shorten available resources in rural areas which might led to enhanced migration movements towards cities. However, while African megacities are expanding, they hardly have the infrastructure to accommodate all new arrivals.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung aims to address migration under the auspices of climate change in all its dimensions. Therefore, this conference aims at providing a platform for experts from Africa and Europe to exchange knowledge and to combine synergies for finding solutions to this global challenge.