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Exploring Connections—Environmental Change, Food Security and Violence as Drivers of Migration—A Critical Review of Research

Héctor Morales-Muñoz (), Srijna Jha (), Michelle Bonatti (), Henryk Alff (), Sabine Kurtenbach () and Stefan Sieber ()
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Héctor Morales-Muñoz: Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries, RA2 “Land Use and Governance”, Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF e.V.), 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
Srijna Jha: Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries, RA2 “Land Use and Governance”, Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF e.V.), 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
Michelle Bonatti: Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries, RA2 “Land Use and Governance”, Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF e.V.), 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
Henryk Alff: Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), 28359 Bremen, Germany
Sabine Kurtenbach: Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), 20354 Hamburg, Germany
Stefan Sieber: Sustainable Land Use in Developing Countries, RA2 “Land Use and Governance”, Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF e.V.), 15374 Müncheberg, Germany

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 14, 1-27

Abstract: Migration, whether triggered by single events, such as violent conflict, or by long term pressures related to environmental change or food insecurity is altering sustainable development in societies. Although there is a large amount of literature, there is a gap for consolidating frameworks of migration-related to the interaction and correlation between drivers. We review scientific papers and research reports about three categories of drivers: Environmental Change (EC), Food Security (FS), and Violent Conflict (VC). First, we organize the literature to understand the explanations of the three drivers on migration individually, as well as the interactions among each other. Secondly, we analyse the literature produced regarding Colombia, Myanmar, and Tanzania; countries with different combinations of the driving factors for migration. Although we find that many correlations are explained in the literature, migration is mostly driven by structural vulnerabilities and unsustainable development paths in places that have a low resilience capacity to cope with risk. For example, food insecurity, as a product of environmental changes (droughts and floods), is seen as a mediating factor detonating violent conflict and migration in vulnerable populations. The paper contributes to the literature about multi-driven migration, presenting an overview of the way in which different driver combinations trigger migration. This is important for determining the best governance mechanisms and policy responses that tackle forced migration and improve the resilience of vulnerable communities as well as sustainable development.

Keywords: environmental change; food security; violent conflict; forced migration; resilience; vulnerability; Colombia; Myanmar; Tanzania (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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