Research on Climate Change and Migration
MMN and the Asian Migrant Centre (AMC), supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, undertook a project aiming to contribute to a greater understanding of climate change in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and the effects that climate change may or may not be having on people’s livelihoods and migration. The project aimed to explore what kind of negative environmental changes (which may be related to climate change) were being felt by communities; if and how these environmental changes were impacting peoples’ lives; if these changes and related impacts were influencing migration; and what other factors might also have been influencing migration. A literature review was undertaken to understand the current discourse, followed by primary research in two case study communities: Ma Gyi Chay Htaut Village, Magway Region, in Myanmar’s central ‘Dry Zone’; and Thanh An Commune, Vinh Thanh District, Can Tho City, in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Findings of the research were published in the report Climate Change and Migration Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change on People’s Livelihoods and Migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 5 June 2013, World Environment Day.
MMN Project Partners
- ECODEV, Myanmar;
- Foundation for Education and Development (FED), Thailand; and
- Center for Research & Consultancy for Development (CRCD), Southern Institute of Sustainable Development, Vietnam.
To understand how negative environmental changes (which may be related to climate change) were being felt by communities, impacting peoples’ lives, and influencing migration, MMN and project partners conducted desk research and primary research in two case study communities in Myanmar and Vietnam. The Myanmar research was undertaken by ECODEV, an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Myanmar, and the Foundation for Education and Development, a migrant-support NGO based in Thailand. The research site was located in Myanmar’s central ‘Dry Zone,’ where conditions are arid year round with limited rainfall, and where local livelihoods – which are primarily dependent on agriculture and natural resources – are highly susceptible to water stress and environmental changes. Primary research in Myanmar included a survey of 50 households, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. The Vietnam research was undertaken by the Center for Research & Consultancy for Development (CRCD), Southern Institute of Sustainable Development. The research methodology included a survey of 50 Vietnamese households, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews.
Generally, the research findings showed a strong correlation between negative environmental changes and migration. Environmental changes were being felt by communities, and these changes were negatively impacting people’s lives and influencing migration. However, other factors were also found to be influencing migration. It was clear from responses to household questionnaires that whether or not communities were experiencing environmental changes (that may be linked to climate change), people will still migrate because of low incomes in their location of origin, fewer jobs in rural areas, and more jobs and educational opportunities in destinations (usually urban centres). To learn more about the research findings, please read the report Climate Change and Migration Exploring the Impacts of Climate Change on People’s Livelihoods and Migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).