Addressing Climate-Forced Displacement in Africa

Lead PI: Dr. Alexander de Sherbinin

Unit Affiliation: Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN)

November 2020 - October 2021
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: As part of the report of the African Union (AU) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report on Addressing Climate-forced displacement this project prepares a modeling of future climate change induced displacement out to 2050. The report will be presented in mid 2021.

The method employed for this work will be a modified version of the population gravity model underlying the Groundswell report on climate change-induced migration of the World Bank. To summarize the Groundswell methods, a population gravity model is used to project future population distribution for each country. Climate impacts are added that affect the relative attractiveness of regions within countries. The climate impacts are based on underlying emissions and development scenarios that are combined to create three scenarios: a pessimistic, a more inclusive development, and a more climate-friendly scenario. The future population projections without climate impacts are subtracted from population projections with climate impacts in order to yield a map of population differences. Positive differences are assumed to reflect net in-migration and negative differences are assumed to reflect net out-migration due to climate change impacts. This effort will include additional data layers as well as historical trends in displacement.

Climate-forced displacement is emerging as the human face of the climate crisis. There is broad global consensus that the impending climate crisis could affect people through the greater frequency and severity of extreme weather events, water scarcity, decreased crop yield, rise of sea levels, as well as health and sanitation challenges. In particular, the climate crisis is emerging as a key driver of forced displacement and migration. The modelling contributes to a report that will play a critical role in advancing the Secretary-General's call for strong action as well as in supporting the AUC in developing norms, policies and solutions.