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On 20 October 2011 Foresight, an organisation set up to help the UK Government think systematically about the future, published a report on human migration and global environmental change over the next 50 years

A major finding of the Foresight report is that migration may not be just part of the ‘problem’ but can also be part of the solution to managing global environmental change, representing a form of adaptation and contributing to long-term resilience.

The report is the culmination of a two-year research project commissioned by Professor Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government. The project involved  over 350 experts from 30 countries from a diverse range of disciplines.

One of those experts was the International Migration Institute’s Co-Director Hein de Haas, who wrote a background report for the project, entitled ‘Mediterranean Migration Futures: Patterns, Drivers and Scenarios’. This piece of work is due to be published in the journal Global Environmental Change.

‘Migration and Environment’ is one of IMI’s key research themes. We plan to build on our existing research in this area by working closely with other University of Oxford research groups to organise a workshop in 2012.

IMI Researcher Ayla Bonfiglio attended the London launch. She says: ‘The Foresight project on environmental change and migration is a valuable resource for migration futures research. Two insights that inform some of the work we are doing at IMI are: environmental change can impact immobility, by negatively impacting an individual's livelihood and constraining his/her ability to migrate; and environmental change may not be a direct and singular driver of international migration – rather, the environment impacts the major economic, political and social factors which directly affect international migration, both now and in the future.’

Read the full Foresight report ‘Migration and Global Environmental Change’ (pdf)

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