Rural livelihoods, location and vulnerable environments: Approaches to migration in mountain areas of Latin America

Andrea Milan, UNU-MERIT / School of Governance

The interaction of environmental changes with other drivers of livelihood change in mountain areas (such as population dynamics and economic globalisation) is of great importance yet relatively understudied. In particular, the relationship between migration and environmental changes is a crucial determinant of rural livelihoods which has barely been studied in a systematic way.

This dissertation aims at bridging this gap on migration in mountain areas, particularly from an empirical point of view. Four key points emerge from the literature review and the case studies presented in the dissertation.

First, in the context of climate change, environmental change is expected to have an increasing impact on migration in the future through its interrelationship with other demographic, economic, political and social drivers of migration and in the context of rising national inequalities;

Second, most migration in the context of environmental change is and will be internal and relatively short distance rather than international, with the notable exception of border areas (including mountains) and small states (particularly small island developing states);

Third, while migration is often understood and framed as a failure to adapt to environmental and climatic changes, it can also be part of successful livelihood risk management strategies;

Fourth, in the upcoming decades, millions of people who would like to move might be unable to leave locations in which they are vulnerable to environmental change.

Venue: Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht

Date: 24 June 2016

Time: 14:45 - 16:15