More research needed about climate migration – Ministers

African ministers responsible for the environment, migration, foreign affairs and international cooperation have said the operationalisation of the African Centre for the Study and Research on Migration (CARIM) should be accelerated.

They also called for data and research centres at national or country level to mitigate the effects of climate change and the mainstreaming of climate issues in education curricula, following the ministerial session of the 7th Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFOM) hosted in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 October.

The ministers released a communique to say the existing lack of data and research on the nexus of migration and climate change has affected effective policy development and implementation on the continent.

They highlighted the need to tackle the issue of climate-induced mobility at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as the Conference of the Parties, or COP27, from 6-18 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

African Climate Mobility Initiative

The ministers noted that the African Union (AU) Commission was closely collaborating with the United Nations (UN) in supporting member states to tackle the agenda of climate change and human mobility on the continent, especially through the implementation of the African Climate Mobility Initiative (ACMI).

The ACMI is a global partnership which was launched last year by the AU Commission, the UN and the World Bank and have been joined by academics to support data-based solutions to support people-centred adaptation to climate mobility and help African communities confronting the climate crisis.

The ministers said the adverse dynamics of climate change, coupled with rapid changes in demographics and development, were among the most pressing challenges that dominated the continent’s socio-economic development and have an impact on the continent’s developmental gains, the aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063 and realisation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Drought, floods, cyclones and extreme temperatures have caused extensive damage to infrastructure, disrupted economic activity and affected livelihoods of African citizens, thereby causing people to move or to be uprooted from their communities in search of opportunities for better livelihoods.

Lack of research

The ministers felt that the lack of research in the area was not being helpful to the continent, hence that should be addressed.

They requested African countries to address the knowledge gap by reviewing education curricula to mainstream issues of climate-induced mobility into member states’ education systems.

They also said the African Centre for the Study and Research on Migration launched in Bamako, Mali, in 2021 will help to cover the gap.

They said this action is necessary as the impact of climate change on Africa – which is compounded by rising urbanisation and population explosion – is causing a strain in social service provisioning.

The communique noted that previous ministerial sessions had focused on the need to strengthen migration and displacement data and research for evidence-based policy development in Africa.