High-End cLimate Impacts and eXtremes (HELIX)

EU FP7 project led by the University of Exeter

At HELIX we are assisting decision-makers and the research community in making adaptation to our changing climate more understandable and manageable by providing a set of credible, coherent, global and regional views of different worlds at 2, 4 and 6°C, and now 1.5°C. We have further focus on delivering the knowledge needs of Northern Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Europe. The Hugo Observatory of the University of Liège is tasked with understanding the human impacts of extreme climate change, specifically on future migration scenarios.  We want to understand whether the destinations of migrants change, whether people are more likely to migrate, or rather less able due to the decreasing availability of natural resources. To this end, we have performed case studies in Senegal, Benin, Tanzania and Bangladesh. We look at contemporary migration patters and by means of biophysical and socio-economic models we attempt to project future migration scenarios. Caroline Zickgraf describes our HELIX work here.

Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP)

The ‘Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy’ (MECLEP) project is an EU-funded six-country research project led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In addition to the Hugo Observatory (University of Liège – Belgium), the research consortsium consists of the following partners: The University of Versailles Saint-Quentin (France), Bielefeld University (Germany),  Research Center on Citizenship, Migration and the City (CIMIC, Erasmus University Rotterdam – The Netherlands), Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO – Costa Rica) and the Institute for the Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS, United Nations University – Germany)

The project aims to contribute to the global knowledge base on the relationship between migration and environmental change, including climate change. The innovative research will aim to formulate policy options on how migration can benefit adaptation strategies to environmental and climate change. Case studies and household surveys were conducted in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam. The Hugo Observatory is in charge of the case study in Mauritius as well as the comparitive report. Hugo Observatory director François Gemenne acts as Global Research Coordinator of the MECLEP project.

Environmental change is one of the major concerns for the international community. Although precise estimates are unavailable, it is commonly understood that due to changes in the environment, more and more people will migrate in coming years, in particular within and between developing countries. At the same time, migration will most likely have a growing impact on the environment. For example, internal migration to cities is expected to continue to increase. Today, over half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, many of which are in coastal areas and are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. The effects of these changes will vary and the impact will differ between each region of the world.

Despite a growing body of studies on the topic of migration, environment and climate change, there is still a lack in reliable data and policy oriented research which can respond to the increasing demand and reflect the needs of policymakers.

The MECLEP project will therefore fill an important gap as it is a policy oriented programme of work based on three main components of activities.