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Migration, Agriculture and Climate Change

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FAO
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Reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing resilience
 

KEY MESSAGES
THE CONTEXT OF MIGRATION, AGRICULTURE AND CLIMATE CHANGE

• Climate change is a cause of rural migration and intensifies other socio-economic drivers of migration, such as rural poverty and food insecurity.

• Short- and long-term effects of climate change have significant impacts on agricultural productivity, rural livelihoods and, indirectly, migration flows.

• Climate change impact on migration is through increases in the frequency and intensity of weather and climate risks. These climate-related risks can be sudden-onset events (e.g. tropical storms, heavy rains, floods and droughts) or slow-onset ones (e.g. sea-level rise, salinization and desertification).

• Migration in the context of climate change has multiple causes. The combination of climate-related risks with socioeconomic drivers increases the vulnerability of agriculture, leads to loss of livelihoods and triggers migration.

• Internal migration is one of the coping strategies adopted in response to the threats of weather and climate extremes. Seasonal migrants, in particular, tend to return to their places of origin and rebuild their livelihoods.

ADDRESSING MIGRATION CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE

• Migration can be an adaptation strategy to climate change. Safe, orderly and regular migration can contribute to agriculture development, economic growth, food security and rural livelihoods.

• Poorly managed migration can increase vulnerability to climate risks, heighten pressure on scarce natural resources, and exacerbate tensions between migrants and host communities on land tenure and resource rights.

• Migration can increase the resilience of vulnerable populations, especially in climate-sensitive rural areas. Migrants can help create decent employment and inclusive social protection systems by transferring remittances, technology, knowledge and skills.

• Investing in sustainable agriculture should be central to the response to climate and migration challenges as it promotes the adaptation to and mitigation of climate change and also reduces other root causes of migration such as rural poverty and food insecurity.

• Mainstreaming migration into climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction policies and plans, and sustainable development is vital in order to effectively manage the challenges of migration and to fully harness its developmental potential.

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