Perceptions and understandings of climate change and migration: Lakshadweep and the Maldives
Reed, Eilif Ursin
It has been long recognized that changes in the environment can influence human movement patterns and behaviour. It is also increasingly being suggested that climate change impacts will induce and increase such movements because migration becomes a potential adaptation strategy. While the term 'climate change migration' implies that a direct causal line can be drawn between climate change and migration, researchers are increasingly questioning that assumption, especially due to poor empirical evidence to support that direct causal line.
This study investigates the assumptions and challenges to the assumptions in work on climate change and migration. It aims to conceptualize and contextualize the relationship between climate change and migration. The first aspect, conceptualizing, refers to the knowledge gaps and the need to understand and detail conceptual issues associated with climate change and migration such as terminology/definitions, links, drivers, thresholds, implications, data requirements, methodological challenges, and other associated complexities. The second aspect, contextualizing, refers to understanding climate change and migration debates within the nexus of migration, climate change, environment, and social development along with governance and policy perspectives at different scales ranging from international to local.
This study adopts a case study based approach comparing and contrasting communities in the Maldives and Lakshadweep (India). The choice of the case study sites is based on their geographical proximity, topographical similarity, and analogous livelihoods and expected climate change impacts. Meanwhile, they display enough governance differences, e.g. sovereignty and non-sovereignty, for a useful comparative analysis.
Dissemination includes scientific papers and presentations, popular science articles and advice conveyed in appropriate languages, a user group, and engagement with stakeholders including interviewees regarding their needs.