Habitable – Linking Climate Change, Habitability and Social Tipping Points: Scenarios for Climate Migration

MANYARA, TANZANIA - NOVEMBER 28, 2011: The catastrophic mudflow destroyed a road between national parks Manyara and Ngorongoro. Car traffic was restored on the same day in Tanzania

The impacts of climate change have been identified as crucial drivers of migration and displacement. However, data and knowledge on the interactions between migration drivers remain limited. For example, the interactions between climate change and the sustainability of livelihoods or political stability are not yet fully understood. Moreover, there is evidence that the relationship between climate change impacts and associated migration outcomes is often not deterministic, as the perceptions of affected populations play a key role in migration decisions. 

In order to address these knowledge gaps, the project HABITABLE – Linking Climate Change, Habitability and Social Tipping Points: Scenarios for Climate Migration – will investigate how and to what extent climate change affects the habitability of socio-ecological systems and transforms current and future migration patterns. The project contends that migration outcomes are strongly dependent upon individual and collective perceptions of changes and risks, as well as other mitigating factors of these changes. By analysing the effects of climate impacts on the system as a whole – including social, political, economic, environmental and demographic factors – and accounting for both objective and subjective dimensions, HABITABLE’s systemic approach will contribute to the design of appropriate and sustainable policy responses to the climate-migration nexus.

The HABITABLE project is the largest project on climate change and migration that has ever been funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. It will be implemented by a consortium of 20 partners from different disciplines, including academic research institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, and international organisations from 17 countries from Europe, West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and Southeast Asia.

adelphi’s work within HABITABLE focuses on developing climate-migration scenario narratives for the year 2050, which will be used to identify scenario-specific opportunities for political action and suggest climate adaptation and migration policies to tackle the possible challenges associated with different scenarios. The climate-migration scenario narratives will be co-developed with different stakeholders and external experts through a series of workshops, and the results will be published in different formats to stimulate creative thinking and strategic planning among both expert and non-expert audiences. adelphi will also contribute to the identification of legal and policy options to address the climate-migration nexus through dedicated workshops with experts from different fields, and by conducting a Political Economy Analysis to test their coherence, robustness and feasibility.