The World Bank have published a 256 page report on the projected impacts climate change will have on migration around the world.
Migration patterns in south Asia have been dominated by movements from rural to urban areas as families search for economic security. The World Bank are predicting a partial reversal of this over the coming decades.
As climate change takes hold, low lying and coastal areas will become too hot and in many cases too flooded to be livable. The projected impacts of this on migration vary. The report looks at three different scenarios, all three predict significant flows of people within and between countries in South Asia.
Climate change is not likely to be the main factor driving migration, economics will continue to play a major role. But, climate will become more important and more influential over time. How important depends on how quickly and how high temperatures rise.
The Glacier Trust works with communities in remote mountainous regions of Nepal, we enable climate change adaptation through agriculture, water supply and education programmes. The Groundswell report predicts that upland regions will see in-migration as people look to inhabit slightly cooler climes.
The southern Indian highlands, especially between Bangalore and Chennai will be climate in-migration hotspots. Parts of Nepal, as well as northwestern India, also see climate in-migration. (World Bank, 2018, p. 121).
We have to remember of course that the highland regions are already facing a lot of challenges due to climate change and these are likely to intensify. Indeed, the trend at the moment in the Himalayas is still out-migration as farming is getting harder and more unpredictable. People go to cities in search of work and a stable income. Our projects are changing this, farmers are staying and in some cases returning as they recognise the opportunities that now exist thanks to the project work we are enabling.
If the mountain regions become a refuge for climate migrants, we need to do all we can to ensure they are livable with thriving agricultural economies. We are already demonstrating the possibilities and hope to continue to innovate to show the way.