Village in the Somali region of Ethiopia where nomads have settled because of the ongoing drought

Climate change and development Migration and climate

Besides poverty and a lack of prospects, further significant drivers of migration and displacement that have emerged are the short- and long-term consequences of climate change. Development policy contributes to slowing down climate change, mitigating its consequences and dealing with the new risks it entails. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is pursuing a comprehensive approach, which also takes into account migration as an adaptation strategy.

Background information Human mobility in the context of climate change Internal link

The patterns of population movements induced by climate change are as diverse as the effects of climate change themselves. There are three main forms of mobility: voluntary migration, forced displacement, and planned relocation.

cover migration as a result

BMZ factsheet: Human mobility as a result of climate change

File type PDF | Date of status 03/2021 | File size 412 KB, Pages 2 Pages
Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of many people. Extreme weather events and slow-onset environmental changes like soil salinisation and rising sea levels all have long-term consequences for the incomes, health and safety of people living in the places thus affected. Violent conflicts can also be exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. In some places it is becoming so hard to get by that people are forced to leave their homes.

Developing countries are particularly affected by climate change, yet their resources for addressing the consequences are limited. For the people there migration can be an adaptation strategy. If migration is planned with an eye to the future and using safe routes, new opportunities are opened up not just for the migrants themselves. It can also make a positive contribution to all aspects of economic, ecological and social development in the countries of origin and in host regions.

Climate change is affecting different genders in different ways. That is why it is important to take a gender-responsive approach when dealing with climate migration.

Human mobility in the context of climate change is a cross-cutting issue in German development cooperation. It provides a number of starting points and working areas.

German activities

Strengthening cities as the main destination of climate migration flows

Road traffic in Berlin, numerous cars driving closely packed on a multi-lane road
Cities in the Global South often have very limited scope to respond adequately to extreme weather events and invest in preventive, climate-smart urban development. In addition, climate change is further increasing existing urbanisation trends worldwide. Many migrants move from rural areas into cities where many have no alternative but to make their homes in informal settlements. This makes them more vulnerable to climate risks because these settlements usually do not have any climate-resilient infrastructure.

That is why the BMZ promotes innovative strategies on urban planning, which take into account both current and expected migration scenarios and climate risks and also involve migrant groups in planning processes.

Cooperation in practice

Two workers at a construction site on the banks of the Mayur River in Khulna town working on a bank stabilisation.

Bangladesh New prospects in Khulna Internal link

Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the effects of climate change. Large parts of the country are situated in the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, the world’s biggest river delta. One fifth of the country could be left permanently under water as sea levels rise.

Coastal section of a Fiji Island

The Pacific Islands Planned relocation Internal link

The Pacific island states are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of climate change. Whilst they themselves contribute only marginally to global warming, their geography means that they suffer disproportionately from its negative impacts.

View of the Caribbean island St. Lucia: left the Atlantic Ocean, right the Caribbean Sea

The eastern Caribbean Campaign to raise awareness of climate risks in St. Lucia Internal link

The eastern Caribbean is repeatedly hit by disasters. That is why the German government is supporting awareness-raising campaigns, so that the local people can consciously minimise their risks.

Background facts International processes

When it comes to migration and displacement in the context of climate change, politics, the private sector, academia and society need to work together to develop coping strategies. Cooperation at the international level is important, too. Climate change is a global phenomenon and it is becoming more and more clear that it is resulting in migration and displacement worldwide.

That is why Germany is supporting relevant international processes.


Standbild aus dem Video "Tukuraki Village"

Fiji: Tukuraki Village – Climate Change Relocation

Still from the video "Vunidogoloa moves higher"

Fiji: Vunidogoloa Moves Higher – Climate Change Relocation

Still from the video "Climate Change and Human Mobility in the Caribbean"

Climate Change and Human Mobility in the Caribbean

Still from the video ""Trapped between Climate Change & COVID-19: Human (Im)mobility in the Eastern Caribbean

Trapped between Climate Change & COVID-19: Human (Im)mobility in the Eastern Caribbean

As at: 13/07/2023