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Borderon, Marion; Sakdapolrak, Patrick; Muttarak, Raya; Kebede, Endale; Pagogna, Raffaella; Sporer, Eva 2018. A systematic review of empirical evidence on migration influenced by environmental change in Africa.

BACKGROUND Despite an increase in scholarly and policy interests in the impacts of environmental and climate change on migration, empirical knowledge in the field remains varied, patchy and limited. Generalized discourse on migration influenced by environmental change frequently leads to an oversimplification of the complex channels through which environmental change influences the migration process. The role of environmental and climate change in driving migration reported in existing studies seems to vary from one extreme to the other ‒ from limited and rather indirect role to significant impacts ‒ preventing us from drawing a conclusive evidence. OBJECTIVE This paper seeks to systematize the existing empirical evidence on migration influenced by environmental change with a focus on Africa, the continent most vulnerable to climate change. METHODS RESULTS CONCLUSIONS CONTRIBUTION We combine elements of a systematic evidence assessment with a more reflexive form of evidence- focused literature review. 53 qualitative and quantitative studies selected from the comprehensive “Climig database” on the influence of environmental change on migration are systematically analyzed based on the framework of the multi-dimensional drivers of migration. Environmental change influences migration in Africa in an indirect way i.e. through affecting other drivers of migration including sociodemographic, economic and political factors. How and in what direction environmental change influences migration depends on socioeconomic and geographical contexts, demographic characteristics and type and duration of migration. It is not possible to draw a universal conclusion whether environmental change will increase or suppress migration in Africa since it is context-specific. The review provides a first systematic and comprehensive summary of empirical evidence on environmental driver of migration in Africa considering direct and indirect pathways through which environmental change influence internal and international migration.
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