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Examining the complex relationship between environmental change and human displacement

A roof battered by cyclone Nargis is waterproofed with a UNHCR plastic sheet in Yangon, Myanmar UNHCR / S Kritsanavarin / 2008
A roof battered by cyclone Nargis is waterproofed with a UNHCR plastic sheet in Yangon, Myanmar

Environmental change is potentially one of the most significant generators of population displacement and yet we know remarkably little about the complex and multivariate processes – environmental, political, social and economic – at the root of this relationship.

Building on an initial project completed in 2010, this project investigated the conjuncture between environmental stress and population displacement in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia.

Using a ‘local lens’, the outputs from this project challenge the ahistorical, apolitical and neo-liberal framing of the way in which environmental variables are claimed to shape mobility decisions in a context of environmental stress and the rights that might pertain to this process. Instead, the analysis from this project explains (im)mobility in terms of structures and ‘hinge points’ of political and social power and disempowerment that shape access to resources and condition the livelihoods of vulnerable households.

Our team

  • Roger Zetter
    Roger Zetter

    Emeritus Professor and former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, 2006–2010

Selected publications