Panel 6: Environmental Change and Migration

Panel Time: 
Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 14:30 to 17:00


Boris Braun, GSSC
Clemens Greiner, GSSC


The environment-migration nexus is often reduced to climate and environmental refugees. Media reports predict millions and millions of people on the move due to a rapidly changing environmental situation in their home regions in the near future. Humanitarian disasters and conflicts around dwindling natural resources receive a lot of media attention. The academic debate, too, mostly concentrates on how and to which extent climate change triggers migration processes. Climate and environmental change are often regarded as rather isolated and deterministic push factors for migration. Beyond these deterministic concepts our panel shall discuss migration and environmental change in a wider, theoretically founded and empirically informed perspective. We shall discuss not only how environmental change may trigger migration but also how migration may lead to environmental changes in the target regions.

Possible guiding questions are:
- In how far are deforestation, the expansion of large-scale agricultural operations, peri-urbanization, or the impacts of climate change linked to migration processes?
- How does environmental change relate to economic and social drivers of migration?
-In how far does the perception of environmental risks trigger migration processes and what determines these risk perceptions on the individual and the community level?
-In how far can migration be seen as an effective way to adapt to environmental changes and extreme natural events? Where do new risks emerge because of this adaptation strategy.
-How important are transregional social networks in dealing with climate change and related natural extreme events?



  • J. Craig Jenkins, Ohio State University, USA
  • Lisa-Michéle Bott, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
  • Harald Sterly, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
  • Patrick Sakdalporak, University of Vienna
  • Giulia Borri, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Erkner
  • Rueben Korley Edmund Okine, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Erkner
  • Felicitas Hillmann, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Erkner
  • Amina Maharjan, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal