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Journal Article

Contextualizing Climate Change Impacts on Human Mobility in African Drylands


Hoffmann,  Roman
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

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Hoffmann, R. (2022): Contextualizing Climate Change Impacts on Human Mobility in African Drylands. - Earth's Future, 10, 6, e2021EF002591.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28064
Climate change is expected to have important implications for human mobility. This article discusses and contextualizes key insights from a recently published study by Thalheimer, Williams, van der Geest, and Otto in Earth's Future (2021), https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EF001958. The authors synthesize findings from the climate science and impact literature, among others from the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, to explore the role of climatic drivers for human mobility in African drylands. Facing a number of economic, social, and political challenges, these areas are highly vulnerable to global warming and related risks. Climate mobility in this region is the outcome of complex interactions between individual and contextual factors shaping peoples' needs and incentives to move as well as their constraints. As the authors highlight, climate change can influence mobility outcomes through a number of channels, including impacts on food and water security, poverty and livelihood risks, and conflicts. These impacts are relevant for both rural areas and cities, with the latter representing a primary destination for climate-induced migration in Africa. The complexity and diversity of the climate mobility nexus call for integrative approaches in science and policy that bridge different disciplines and policy sectors. These approaches should be based on fair, equal, and inclusive processes of knowledge production, transfer, and implementation that involve a number of stakeholders. Inclusive deliberations and partnerships across fields and sectors are key elements to comprehensively studying and addressing the realities and manifold challenges faced by both mobile and immobile populations.