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Project Perıod

Climate-Induced Migration


What ıs the project about?

Climate change (interlinked with humanitarian crises and other economic and health factors) could lead to internal resettlements, international migration, and other (new) forms of human mobility. However, the empirical link between various climatic conditions and migration outcomes is highly contested, and, to date, no unified theoretical approach can adequately capture the complexity and contextual dependency of climate-induced migration. To address this gap, CLIMB seeks to develop a holistic approach which will allow us to better understand the mechanisms and pathways underlying the climate-migration nexus, and to predict temporal-spatial mobility patterns in Africa and beyond. Specifically, we will investigate how climate change may intersect with conflicts, poverty, and epidemics, among other adversities, and how these forces may operate in tandem in driving human migration, with a special focus on Africa.

The project's research questıons

Climate risks are more likely to affect mobility within administrative areas/countries than cross-border migration. As a result, macro analyses of cross-country migration flows tend to find small and very uncertain climate impact on human mobility. Rather than aiming for a global study, CLIMB will adopt a bottom-up approach: collecting timely and granular data on specific cases where the climate-migration nexus can be more apparent, both conceptually and empirically. As a starting point, our first case study will focus on Senegal for two reasons. First, the country is projected to experience more extreme weather events which could force up to one million people to move by 2050. It also suffers from poverty, inequality, conflict and epidemics. Second, call data records (CDR) data provided through partnership with Sonatel (the principal telecommunications provider of Senegal) offers a unique opportunity to study mobility patterns at a high resolution. 

In addition to leveraging CDR, CLIMB will also make use of earth observation (EO) and social media data, and combine them with survey and official statistical data. This holistic approach will allow us to analyze migration process from a multi-stage perspective (e.g. from initial displacement to onward/return migration), hence gain more insights about the temporality of climate-induced migration. It will also allow us to better understand how migratory processes are shaped by multi-level (macro, meso, and micro) factors: climate risks, socio-economic crises, public opinion, social networks, and human perceptions, aspirations and capabilities, among others.

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Partıcıpatıng ınstıtutıons/unıversıtıes

MAU will contribute to developing conceptual and methodological framework; gathering official statistical data; assist RDS survey design; modeling, prediction, and forecasting climate-induced migration.


The Harvard Team will contribute to processing and analyzing social media data from Meta (formerly Facebook) and Twitter; Modeling, prediction, and forecasting climate-induced migration; Management of research outputs (datasets, code, papers) during and after the project on Harvard Dataverse repository platform.

IDEMA will leverage its extensive network to engage international stakeholders, such as IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis center (GMDAC), Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), Save the Children. It will also leverage its expertise in machine learning, data science, as well as conceptual approaches for migration studies. 

DPA will contribute to conducting RDS survey; mobile phone data analysis; capacity-building and awareness raising in Senegal

IPAR will contributing to conducting RDS survey; mobile phone data analysis; capacity-building and awareness raising in Senegal

Participating Institute/University