Monthly Archives: August 2013

Climate-induced migration: The need for political strategies

 

A man working as a rickshaw puller in Dhaka, a usual job of villagers who come to this booming city for a better income. Often climatic stresses and shocks undermine rural livelihoods. Photo: Steve Evans

A man working as a rickshaw puller in Dhaka, a usual job of villagers who come to this booming city for a better income. Often climatic stresses and shocks undermine rural livelihoods. Photo: Steve Evans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Service Center, HAMBURG

Climate change is not only throwing ecosystems off balance; it is also threatening the livelihoods of many people, which can result in major migrations. But we are currently lacking both reliable data and effective political strategies to deal with these changes, as a conference organised on July 16-18 by the Climate Service Center and the KlimaCampus pointed out.

The event brought together participants from over 25 countries and included climate and migration researchers, as well as experts from the field of development cooperation. The conference also produced a declaration, in which the participants called for an official legal status to be established for those people forced to migrate as a result of climate change.

In order for that to happen, though, we would first need a definition that reflected a range of complex considerations. After all, not every extreme weather event is due to climate change. Further, mass migrations are often sparked by the economic repercussions of climate change, whereas the current definition of a refugee is limited to the victims of persecution on the part of the state.

Prof. Jürgen Scheffran, head of the CliSAP working group “Climate Change and Security,” summarizes the problem in brief, namely: “Who should decide whether someone is a climate-induced migrant or an economic migrant?” Questions like this one could pose serious new challenges, e.g. when entire countries are threatened by climate change and the fleeing masses cross international borders. “However, climate-induced migration most often takes place within national borders,” explains Scheffran.

The conference participants also called for more intensive cooperation between the fields of climate and migration research. Historically, there has been little interaction between the two; yet cooperation is necessary if the goal is to translate research findings into actual implementation strategies: “Scientific findings provide an important decision-making basis for politicians,” explains Prof. Maria Máñez Costa, head of the Economics and Policy Department at the Climate Service Center. The more the livelihoods of local communities are threatened, the less they can successfully adapt to the effects of climate change. Instead of responding to threats as they arise, it is more important to strengthen the affected regions in advance – for example, by preparing scientific risk assessments.

The Hamburg Conference Declaration

Video with interviews and comments

Most international migrations happen across shared borders

India and Pakistan share strong cultural bonds, contributing to large-scale cross-border movements.  Marriages like that of Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik are common.

India and Pakistan share strong cultural bonds, contributing to continued cross-border movements even after the refugee crisis during the 1947 partition of the erstwhile British colony. The photo shows Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, who married Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik  (right).  Photo: Times of India)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large majority of international migrants move across shared borders, between developing countries, though projections often focus on flows to rich countries. During 1960-2000, for instance, the largest number of male migrants moved from Pakistan to India, followed by India to Pakistan as an analysis based on Global Bilateral Migration Database figures shows.  Mexico-US  border crossing, however, came third in the list.  While population mobility becomes a research focus in the context of climate change, we present a set of often overlooked migration facts, figures and trends. Updates and  analyses of climate sensitivity of some of the movements will follow – Editors.

By Jai Ganesh, Infosys Labs

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines migration as ‘the movement of a person or a group of persons, either across an international border, or within a State’. It is a population movement, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes migration of refugees, displaced persons, economic migrants, and persons moving for other purposes, including family reunification’. The United Nations defines migrant as ‘an individual who has resided in a foreign country for more than one year irrespective of the causes, voluntary or involuntary, and the means, regular or irregular, used to migrate’. There are different types of migration such as seasonal (driven by labor conditions), tourism, rural to urban (driven by economic and social conditions) and vice versa and international migration. Other causes for migration could be regional conflicts, wars, natural disasters. Disparities in income for similar type of jobs and shortage of suitably skilled and employable labor force are key reasons for international migration.

According to IOM there are about 214 million international migrants worldwide (3.1% of the world’s population), which is a significant increase over the 2000 number of 150 million. According to IOM, countries with a high percentage of migrants include Qatar (87%), United Arab Emirates (70%), Jordan (46%), Singapore (41%), Saudi Arabia (28%) and countries with a low percentage of migrants include South Africa (3.7%), Slovakia (2.4%), Turkey (1.9%), Japan (1.7%), Nigeria (0.7%), Romania (0.6%), India (0.4%) and Indonesia (0.1%). Global fund remittances by migrants were $529 billion in 2012. Remittances sent by migrants to developing countries were estimated at $401 billion in 2012. According to the World Bank, the top recipients of officially recorded remittances in 2012 were India ($69 billion), China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($24 billion), and Mexico ($23 billion). Other large recipients are Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Lebanon.

The Global Bilateral Migration Database maintains global matrices of bilateral migrants for the period 1960-2000. The data is based on 1000 plus national censuses and population details from 226 countries. The data break-up is available based on gender as well as the source and destination of migration. This presents an opportunity to understand the phenomenon and present a network analysis based approach to understand country-wise and gender-wise global migration patterns during 1960-2000. Figure 1 is a chart of bilateral human migration from 1960-2000. Figure 2 is a source and destination country chart of the top ten global bilateral male migrant movements from 1960-2000.

Aggregate Migration - 1960-2000.jpg

Gender-wise  migration pattern 1960 -2000

 

Bilateral

Bilateral migration by women 1960 – 2000

 

 

Bilateral migration by men 1960 - 2000

Bilateral migration by men 1960 – 2000

 

 

Network graph of male migration (1960-2000)

 

 

Female Migration Weighted Degree.jpg

Network graph of female migration (1960-2000)

Analysis and Conclusions

Gender-wise migration patterns

  1. During 1960-2000, the largest number of male migrants was from Pakistan to India (12,414,897), which accounted for 3.94% of the total, followed by India to Pakistan (11,114,945 – 3.53%), Mexico to United States (9,721,375 – 3.09%), Russian Federation to Ukraine (8,578,948 – 2.72%), Ukraine to Russian Federation (7,064,887 – 2.24%), followed by others.
  2. During 1960-2000, the largest number of female migrants was from Russia Federation to Ukraine (12,465,470 – 3.98%), Ukraine to Russian Federation (11,889,217 – 3.8%), Pakistan to India (10,650,582 – 3.4%), India to Pakistan (9,580,036 – 3.06%), Mexico to United States (8,264,482 – 2.64%), followed by others.

  3. For male migrants, the Unites States continued to be the number one destination over the years followed by Russian Federation, India, Germany, Canada, France, Ukraine and Australia. During 1990 and 2000, we see Saudi Arabia emerging as a top ten migrant destination for male migrants.

  4. In the case of outflow of male migrants the leading migrant sources have been India, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Poland, China, Italy, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh. During 1990 and 2000, we see Mexico and Egypt emerging as a top ten source of male migrants.

  5. For female migrants, the Unites States has continued to be the number one destination over the years followed by Russian Federation, India, Germany, Canada, France, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Australia. During 1990 and 2000, we see Saudi Arabia emerging as a top ten migrant destination for female migrants.

  6. In the case of outflow of female migrants the leading migrant sources have been India, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Poland, China, Italy, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh. During 1990 and 2000, we saw Mexico emerging as a top ten source of female migrants.

Country-wise migration patterns

  1. Majority of the world’s migration happens across borders of neighboring countries such as India to Pakistan and vice versa, Russian Federation to Ukraine and vice versa, Mexico to United States, Bangladesh to India, Poland to Germany etc.
  2. The numbers of migrants originates from developing countries in Asia and Africa and a large majority of them move to other poor developing countries, which have very limited resources to host them.
  3. Among economically advanced countries, the largest recipient of refugees were Germany, United States and United Kingdom, France, Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia and Switzerland
  4. Large numbers of migrants are driven by labor conditions (Mexico to United States, Bangladesh to India and Ukraine to Russian Federation), economic (Poland to Germany), political (India to Pakistan and vice versa) and social conditions. Disparities in income for similar type of jobs and shortage of suitably skilled and employable labor force are key reasons for the above.

 

Global Migration clusters

We observed 14 migration clusters based on the aggregate migration patterns over 1960-2000. These include large clusters around India, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Ukraine, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, China, France as well as smaller clusters around Eastern, Southern and Western Africa and South America. The below network graphs capture the gender-wise migration inflow and outflow clusters.

Female Migration Inflow clusters.jpg

Female migration inflow clusters

 

Male migration inflow clusters

 

Female migration outflow clusters
Male Migration Outflow Clusters.jpg
Male migration outflow clusters  
  1. We calculated the weighted indegree and outdegree measures to further understand the leading destinations for migrant inflows and outflows from 1960-2000. We drilled down further into the top ten destinations for migrant outflows. Among the top ten we took the developed countries for further analysis of migrant outflows. In this list, among female migrants, United Kingdom and Germany and Italy figured in the top ten from 1960-2000 and Italy figured in the top ten from 1960-1990. In the same list, among male migrants, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy figured in the top ten from 1960-1970, the United Kingdom and Italy figured in the top ten from 1980-1990 and only the United Kingdom figured in the top ten in 2000. The below charts capture the gender-wise percentages for developed country outflows. The percentages indicate global shifts in migration particularly in the context of developed countries. Over the years, there has been increasing migration from the developed to the developing world in the form of United Kingdom to Zambia and Zimbabwe, Germany to Brazil and Argentina and Italy to Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.

  2. We tried to correlate migration from developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain to their GDP and Unemployment for the time period 1960-2000. In the case of the United Kingdom, the GDP growth has been low during 1960’s until mid-1970s and there were slight dips in GDP during the early 80s and 90s. However, we saw no co-relation as the migrant outflow from the UK has continued to increase at a constant rate over the years. The German economy saw slight dip in its GDP during 1980-86 and then again in mid-late 90s, but the trends in migration was more or less similar to that of the United Kingdom. The Italian economy saw similar GDP dips, however the migrant outflow from Italy has been constantly declining over the years. The unemployment data from the UK, Spain and Germany moved in tandem with their GDP numbers.

UK

UK Female

UK

UK Male.jpg

Female migrant outflow destinations as a percentage of the gender-wise total  Male migrant outflow destinations as a percentage of the gender-wise total

 

Germany

Germany Female.jpg

Germany

Germany Male.jpg

Female migrant outflow destinations as a % of gender-wise total  Male migrant outflow destinations as a % of gender-wise total

 

Italy

Italy Female.jpg

Italy

Italy Male.jpg

Female migrant outflow destinations as a % of gender-wise total  Male migrant outflow destinations as a % of gender-wise total