This article is available also in spanish here

Forced displacements: another result of climate change in cities

My list

Author | Tania AlonsoAlthough they are not occupying headlines yet, migrants are soon to become the most visible faces of climate change. People who will abandon or who have already abandoned their homes because their very livelihoods are at stake as a result of natural disasters or gradual changes to their environment.Many of these people will move from rural areas to urban areas, where they will have more possibilities of finding work. Others will have to abandon the cities themselves, where life is becoming more complicated. In both cases, their displacements will generate inequalities and structural changes in the territories.

Internal movements

young people in a cityCyclones, torrential rain, fires or prolonged droughts pose a challenge for a large number of inhabitants across the planet. Exceptional problems, such as floods, restrict access to drinking water and cause significant damage to infrastructures and private properties. Others have a more gradual impact, such as droughts, for example, which destroy crops little by little and drinking water resources.In many cases, the only solution to combat the problem is to move. According to the UN refugee agency, most climate change-induced displacements are internal, not cross-border. That is, people who are forced to abandon their homes move to other points within their same country where they have more chances of finding work, decent housing and (although it is not always possible) schooling for their children.“During the sowing season, it wouldn’t rain, and when we didn’t want it to, it rained. That led to a drought, and I didn’t want to suffer this situation any longer. I wanted to try my luck in the city, so I moved to Awasa”, Wolde Danse, from Ethiopia commented. His story is included in the World Bank report ‘Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration’.The report highlights that climate change will affect “the poorest people from the poorest countries”, who will move, to a large extent, from rural regions to increasingly overcrowded urban areas.

The challenges in cities

boats resting on a dry riverMigration to urban and peri-urban areas poses a challenge for city leaders. In order to accommodate a growing number of people, housing and transport infrastructures and social services need to be improved and extended, and employment needs to be generated.One of the main difficulties stems from the fact that these migrations occur particularly in developing countries. According to UN figures, by 2050, climate change will force 140 million people to migrate within their own countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America alone (regions representing 55% of the developing world population, according to the World Bank report).Another difficulty encountered by the most vulnerable populations is adapting to a new environment. In many cases, people have lost all their belongings in a natural disaster or they have moved away when they had no other choice.The risks of not integrating this population in cities can lead to the creation of houses in informal settlements or a lack of services, marginalization and increased poverty, in general. This population continues to be particularly exposed to the effects of climate change, which of course affects cities as well. Particularly, those built on coastlines, since a rise in the sea level could increase the risk of tsunamis and flooding.

Examples on the map

In 2017, 18.8 million people were displaced due to disasters in 135 countries, almost double the number of people displaced due to conflicts. The Philippines, as a result of numerous typhoons, Chad, due to desertification and drought, or Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai, were some of the countries that saw the highest levels of population movement.This number is expected to increase in the coming years if the rise in temperatures is not limited. The Horn of Africa may be one of the worst hit regions. In Ethiopia, for example, water scarcity and lower agricultural production, will lead to numerous migrations. Even its largest city, Addis Ababa, could see a slower than expected growth, according to the report ‘Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration’. In a country in which agricultural productivity will reduce due to climate change, greater economic diversification will be needed.Other cities could also see a slow demographic increase, such as Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). In both cases, due to rising sea levels and storm surges.informal settlement in a cityOther areas in which climate is being more benevolent could see a population increase. The World Bank report highlights Bangalore and Chennai (India), Guatemala City (Guatemala) and Nairobi (Kenya), as examples.In both cases, the level of migrations is expected to increase significantly in 2030 and, if no improvements are seen to stop climate change, even more so by 2050. However, experts indicate after the report, that these internal migrations do not necessarily have to end in a crisis. If measures are put in place, the impact in these three areas could be reduced.

Halting climate change

Forced migrations are just another consequence of climate change, which generates economic losses, hunger and even thousands of deaths each year. Which is why it is essential to find a solution and curb our impact on the environment, by following the measures presented in the ‘Paris Agreement’.“A rise of only 1.5°C rather than 2°C could mean reducing the number of people vulnerable to climate-related risks by up to 457 million; 10 million fewer people exposed to the risk of sea level rise; reducing exposure to floods, droughts, and forest fires; limiting damage to ecosystems and reductions in food and livestock; cutting the number of people exposed to water scarcity by half; and up to 190 million fewer premature deaths over the century” according to Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur.A responsibility that applies particularly to the northern half of the planet. The region that did the most to cause climate change, in terms of carbon emissions, and which is probably least likely to feel the consequences in the short term. However, developed countries also have a greater capacity to adapt and react in order to put an end to this global problem.It is essential to do so in order to guarantee the sustainable and healthy development of cities which, by the mid-century, could be home two thirds of the world’s population.Images | Delaney Turner, Toomas Tartes, K15 Photos, Chester Ho

Related content
What causes the drought cycles in Africa?
What causes the drought cycles in Africa?
The German recycling system: the world’s best recycling country
The German recycling system: the world’s best recycling country
How many people can Earth support?
How many people can Earth support?
What is geoengineering and how can it be used to create resilient cities?
What is geoengineering and how can it be used to create resilient cities?
Blue Economy: Living with the Oceans and from the Oceans
Blue Economy: Living with the Oceans and from the Oceans
Felix Finkbeiner | Interview | Why We Need a Trillion Trees
Felix Finkbeiner | Interview | Why We Need a Trillion Trees
The Fight for a Pollution-Free Planet
The Fight for a Pollution-Free Planet
What has made Copenhagen the green capital of the world?
What has made Copenhagen the green capital of the world?
Turning Climate Action Risks into Opportunities
Turning Climate Action Risks into Opportunities
Odile Rodriguez de la Fuente | Keynote Session | Climate for Change
Odile Rodriguez de la Fuente | Keynote Session | Climate for Change
Renewable energy generation: description, types and objectives
Renewable energy generation: description, types and objectives
What happens to an ecosystem that experiences a prolonged drought?
What happens to an ecosystem that experiences a prolonged drought?
Pros and cons of Wind Energy: Advantages and challenges
Pros and cons of Wind Energy: Advantages and challenges
How is ocean pollution affecting humans?
How is ocean pollution affecting humans?
What is decarbonization? Targets and processes
What is decarbonization? Targets and processes
Rainwater catchment systems: from cisterns to smart infrastructures
Rainwater catchment systems: from cisterns to smart infrastructures
Where does recycling end and greenwashing begin?
Where does recycling end and greenwashing begin?
Connected agriculture: the Internet of Things extends to farming
Connected agriculture: the Internet of Things extends to farming
Projecting the port of the future 👉 Port of Barcelona, IV Strategic Plan 2021-2025
Projecting the port of the future 👉 Port of Barcelona, IV Strategic Plan 2021-2025
What is sustainable waste management and why should cities embrace it?
What is sustainable waste management and why should cities embrace it?
URBACT across EU countries: driving change at National Level
URBACT across EU countries: driving change at National Level
Smart water management: real cases of IoT that are helping to improve cities
Smart water management: real cases of IoT that are helping to improve cities
How Chennai wants to build resilience to climate change and the threats to its wetlands
How Chennai wants to build resilience to climate change and the threats to its wetlands
How Portugal is becoming a Smart Nation
How Portugal is becoming a Smart Nation
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x03: Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x03: Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
PODCAST 1x03 - Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
PODCAST 1x03 - Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
The three principles of sustainability and how to implement them in cities
The three principles of sustainability and how to implement them in cities
Sustainable food: reality or fantasy?
Sustainable food: reality or fantasy?
The countries predicted to lose the most with climate change
The countries predicted to lose the most with climate change
Young children are intuitive urban planners — we would all benefit from living in their ‘care-full’ cities
Young children are intuitive urban planners — we would all benefit from living in their ‘care-full’ cities
A city of empty houses: How work from home, job losses hit Bengaluru's residential rentals
A city of empty houses: How work from home, job losses hit Bengaluru's residential rentals
Energy needed a digital revolution – and we are it
Energy needed a digital revolution – and we are it
How the power of IoT makes smart cities a reality
How the power of IoT makes smart cities a reality
Laura Tenenbaum, scientist and communicator: We will lose some battles against climate change
Laura Tenenbaum, scientist and communicator: We will lose some battles against climate change
Cities: the unexpected driving force behind a green global revolution
Cities: the unexpected driving force behind a green global revolution
Heatwaves and urban heat islands: what are cities to do?
Heatwaves and urban heat islands: what are cities to do?
Malmo, the Swedish city that is neutralising its climate impact by betting on renewable energies
Malmo, the Swedish city that is neutralising its climate impact by betting on renewable energies
What we can learn from Oslo’s waste management system
What we can learn from Oslo’s waste management system
Zero-mile farming: infographic
Zero-mile farming: infographic
Smart Forest City Cancun: a futuristic orchard in the middle of the Riviera Maya
Smart Forest City Cancun: a futuristic orchard in the middle of the Riviera Maya
Which are the 12 greenest cities in the world?
Which are the 12 greenest cities in the world?
Do we consume more energy per capita, or less?
Do we consume more energy per capita, or less?
Smart City holidays: What will tourism be like in the future?
Smart City holidays: What will tourism be like in the future?
Solar cities: an opportunity not to be missed
Solar cities: an opportunity not to be missed
Recovering energy from traffic: positive energy roads
Recovering energy from traffic: positive energy roads
From nocturnal trucks to AI: how urban waste management is changing
From nocturnal trucks to AI: how urban waste management is changing
Amsterdam launches a modular urban lighting system
Amsterdam launches a modular urban lighting system
Copenhagen’s green future is built on the rooftops
Copenhagen’s green future is built on the rooftops
How does a city face the pandemic - Infographic
How does a city face the pandemic - Infographic
Geothermal energy: a simple solution for making urban heat more sustainable
Geothermal energy: a simple solution for making urban heat more sustainable
Recommended profiles for you
Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
Ray Wescott
Ray Wescott
Telematics Wireless Limited
European Business Development
DK
Derman Kahraman
Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality
Directrice Foreign Affairs Directorate of Foreign Affairs Department
IS
Ivan Simic
Regional Energy Agency North
Managing director
AM
Arnau Martí
TECHBLOOM
Founder
OH
Olaf Heil
Stadtwerke Karlsruhe
CTO/CIO
Halimi Ahmadhalimi
Halimi Ahmadhalimi
Komunikasi
Always
AA
Asif Ahad
Liberty LED Lights Pvt Ltd
LL
Luca Lucente
Mediobanca
Treasury and Funding
Daniel Ortiz
Daniel Ortiz
Enel X
Head of B2C Iberia
Ld
Lakshmi Varshini dontu
Aliens Developers Pvt Ltd
Interior Designer
CC
Christos Chalazias
Cosmote
Manager
Carlos Conejo Gangkofner
Carlos Conejo Gangkofner
OPES Solutions
Sales Engineer
ND
Nikoletta Dourouka
Architecture student
Student
YC
Yu Ching Chiang
Innoenergy student
Master student
SV
Sarah Vanguardia
Pamantasan ng Cabuyao
Program Head
MV
Marc Vives
Granollers Mercat
Business and entrepreneurship technitian. Focused on promoting the circular economy in industries
Yovanny Vela
Yovanny Vela
Universidad cooperativa de colombia
Jefe de TI
MR
Manuel Ricote Redondo
Inversiones Herima,S.L.
Director
PERE ARTÍS
PERE ARTÍS
KEACOUSTICS
Acoustic and Vibration Engineer
Juliana Silva
Juliana Silva
Lotus Hub
CEO

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$