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Changing climate, changing realities: migration in the Sahel

Research reports

Written by Gabrielle Daoust, Yue Cao, Jim Jarvie

Image credit:Landscape of Sahel. Daniel Tiveau/CIFOR Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the Sahel region – the strip of land extending coast to coast from west to east Africa – internal migration and movement between countries have long been important resilience strategies for people seeking new economic opportunities or fleeing environmental crises.

Climate change has already caused significant transformations in the Sahel’s environment, increasing pressure on some people to migrate, while constraining other people’s opportunities to move. Projected changes in rainfall and temperature suggest these challenges are likely to intensify.

Despite these trends, evidence on the relationship between climate change and migration in the Sahel is sparser than in other regions, with the evidence that does exist focusing more on sudden-onset, short-duration climate shocks rather than slower, longer-duration changes.

This research seeks to increase understanding of the links between climate change and migration by examining people’s perceptions of the two issues in Mali and Sudan. The report explores the ways in which people cope with or adapt to the adverse consequences of climate change, as well as the vulnerabilities, barriers, and needs experienced by those who use migration as an adaptation strategy.

Authors: Gabrielle Daoust, Yue Cao, Hussein M. Sulieman, Dansiné Diarra, Boukary Barry and Jim Jarvie.