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A Short Note on Migration and Security in a Changing Climate

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Statue of Liberty Arm, 1876, Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

Looking at the world today, we can see strong signals of what the future may bring: unprecedented climate risks and natural resource stress, continuing refugee crises, and responses from governments ranging from welcoming with open arms to watching as the most vulnerable perish. Long-simmering and emerging conflicts will not be solved overnight. Stresses on water and food, and the inability of governments to provide these basic resources for their citizens, are not going to go away. The growing and multi-faceted push and pull drivers of migration are not going away either.  These challenges we can foresee. But with foresight comes a “responsibility to prepare,” and to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values.

The difference between today and tomorrow rests in what we as nations choose to do in the face of these challenges. Do we choose humanitarian responses that truly enhance our security or do we choose to artificially isolate ourselves?

For millennia and for many today, mobility is security.  Governments will need to recognize that reality and start developing both preventive solutions and ameliorative responses that enhance human security, and, in so doing, bolster security worldwide.

New Paper: Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict

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Photo by Oxfam

This originally appeared in the New Security Beat
By , Wilson Center Environmental Change and Security Program

Record levels of displacement and accelerating climate change have prompted many to wonder if the world is headed toward a more violent future. The nexus of climate change, migration, and conflict is posing fundamental challenges to societies. But not always in the ways you might think. In a new report prepared for the U.S. Agency of International Development, Lauren Herzer Risi and I present a small guide to this controversial and consequential nexus of global trends. (more…)