environmental changes and migration in the sahel an exploratory note l.
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Environmental changes and migration in the Sahel: An exploratory note

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  1. Environmental changes and migration in the Sahel: An exploratory note Aderanti Adepoju Human Resources Development Centre, Lagos, Nigeria aaderantiadepoju@aol.com

  2. Key issues to be addressed • environmental change and human mobility; • implications of environmental change on human mobility; • environmental vulnerability, migration, peace and stability; • climate change, human security, conflicts; • climate change and forced migration; • managing environmental issues at local level.

  3. Definitional/typological issues Environmentally induced migration in context of: • internal-international migration continuum • voluntary-forced migration continuum • temporary cross-border workers, seasonal migrants, clandestine workers, refugees and professionals • cross-border movements of farm labourers, unskilled workers, female traders and nomads

  4. Environmentally-induced population displacements Kinds of disasters • deforestation, • desertification, • land/natural resources degradation • climate change, • drought, • soil erosion, • floods, • natural disasters, • dam construction • conflicts, • water, air and ground pollution

  5. Issues of multi-cuasality • poverty, poor living conditions, cultural, religious underlying factors • current knowledge not well founded. • research-based understanding limited. • placing environmental migrants in the voluntary-forced migration continuum unresolved. • unexplored agenda: most people impacted by environmental degradation do not migrate.

  6. The west African Sahel zone • droughts and famine recurring environmental problem • imbalanced human and land-environmental systems • agriculture lifeline: delicate balance between production system and fragile environment. • ecological context: land confiscation for forest reserves • rapid population growth; diminished grazing land. • overgrazing, deforestation and poor land management. • inadequate rainfall and post-drought regeneration

  7. Family coping strategies • shift from cattle to drought resistant goats • employment diversification portfolio • selective sponsored migration • increasing circular migration • diversification of migration destinations • stronger lineage control, dual-residence • remittances to wider network of kin.

  8. Actors • Role of sectoral actors • NGOs • Local communities • National authorities • Development partners • United Nation Agencies • Researchers

  9. Targeted sectoral activities Basket of intervention measures: • Drought - promote irrigation; drought resistant varieties; soil/water conservation; reforestation • Desertification - reduce wood cutting; increase tree planting; promote solar cooking. • Land degradation: training on sustainable natural resource management, environmental education at village levels. • Deforestation: support local NGOs; reduce cost of alternative technologies • Conflicts: develop early warning system for conflict prevention; efficient settlement of differences, promote social harmony, democratic principles and popular participation.