Migration caused by climate change: how vulnerable are people inn dryland areas?

  • Elisabeth Meze-Hausken


Climate change has been presented as a likely trigger formigration of people, especially in dryland areas of less developed countries.The underlying research questions focus on the strength of adaptationcapacity of subsistence farmers in Northern Ethiopia, and evaluate historicalexperiences gained from drought-induced migration. Through a survey of104 peasants who had to migrant due to persistent drought, vulnerabilityto climate change has shown to be a complex issue, including themultiplicity of factors comprising a household environment. Still, to bevulnerable does not make someone a potential climate migrant, as peoplein marginal regions have developed a great variety of adaptationmechanisms, which strengthen their ability to cope with both, slow climaticchanges and extreme climatic events.

climate change Ethiopia historical analogy migration vulnerability 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ademe, M. and Kinfe, H.: 1998, Baseline and Climate Change Scenarios for Ethiopia, Addis Abeba. National meteorological services agency.Google Scholar
  2. Adger, W.N.: 2000, 'Social and ecological resilience: Are they related?', Progr. in Hum. Geogr. 24, 347-364.Google Scholar
  3. Alemneh, D.: 1990, Environment, Famine, and Politics in Ethiopia: A View from the Village, Boulder, L. Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Ayres, R. and Walter, J.: 1991, 'The greenhouse effect: Damages, costs and abatement', Envir. Res. Econ. 1, 237-270.Google Scholar
  5. Bohle, H.G., Downing, T.E. and Watts, M.J.: 1994, 'Climate change and social vulnerability', Glob. Envir. Ch. 4, 37-48.Google Scholar
  6. Bovin, M. and Manger, L.O.: 1990, Adaptive Strategies in African Arid Lands, Proceedings from a seminar at the Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, Uppsala, Sweden, April 1989, Scandinavian Institute of African Studies.Google Scholar
  7. Burton, I., Kates, R.W. and White, G.F.: 1993, The Environment as Hazard (2nd edition), New York, Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  8. Crawshaw, B. and Shaw, J.: 1995, 'Changing vulnerability to food insecurity and the international response: the experience of the world food programme', in T.E. Downing (ed.), Climate Change and Food Security, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  9. Degefu, W.: 1987, 'Some aspects of meteorological drought in Ethiopia', in M.H. Glantz (ed.), Drought and Hunger in Africa. Denying Famine a Future, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Downing, T.E.: 1991, 'Vulnerability to hunger in Africa', Glob. Envir. Ch. 1(5), 365-380.Google Scholar
  11. Downing, T.E., Watts, M. and HG, B.: 1996, 'Climate change and food insecurity: yowards a sociology and geography of vulnerability', in T.E. Downing (ed.), Climate Change and World Food Security, Berlin, Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Du Toit, R.F.: 1985, 'Soil loss, hydrological changes, and conservation attitudes in the Sabi catchment of Zimbabwe', Envir. Cons. 12(2), 157-165.Google Scholar
  13. Ezra, M.: 1997, Demographic Responses to Ecological Degradation and food insecurity, Ph.D. dissertation, Netherlands Graduate School of Research in Demography (PDOD).Google Scholar
  14. García, R.V.: 1981, Drought and Man: The 1972 Case History (1st edition), Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies and International Federation of Institutes for Advanced Study, Oxford; New York, Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  15. Glantz, M.H.: 1991, 'The use of analogies in forecasting ecological and societal responses to global warming', Environment 33(5), 10-33.Google Scholar
  16. Glantz, H.M.: 1996, 'Forecasting by analogy: local responses to global climate change', in J.B. Smith, et al. (eds), Adapting to Climate Change: An Interational Perspective, New York, Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Gosh, B.: 1992, 'Migration, trade and international economic cooperation: do the inter-linkages work?' Paper prepared for the 10th IOM Seminar on Migration, Geneva: 15-17 September 1992. Quoted in Overview of International Migration. Migration Management Training Programme, International Organization for Migration 1995.Google Scholar
  18. Houghton, J.T.: 1994, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, Oxford, England.Google Scholar
  19. Houghton, J.T., Working Group I: 1996, Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Houghton, J.T., Jenkins, G.J. and Ephraums, J.J.: 1990, Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hulme, M.: 1992, 'Rainfall changes in Africa: 1931-1960 to 1961-1990', Int. J. Clim. 12, 685-699.Google Scholar
  22. Hulme, M. and Viner, D.: 1998, 'A climate change scenario for the tropics', Clim. Ch. 39(2-3), 145-176.Google Scholar
  23. IPCC: 1994, IPCC Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations, Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. University College London and Center for Global Environmental Research.Google Scholar
  24. Jamieson, D.: 1988, 'Grappling for a glimpse of the future', in M.H. Glantz (ed.), Societal Responses to Regional Climatic Change: Forecasting by Analogy, Boulder, Westview Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kloos, H. and Lindtjorn, B.: 1994, 'Malnutrition and mortality during recent famines in Ethiopia: implications for food aid and rehabilitation', Disasters 18(2), 130-139.Google Scholar
  26. Kritz, M.M.: 1990, Climate Change and Migration Adaptations, Department of Sociology, Cornell University.Google Scholar
  27. Kuru, A.: 1986, Soil Erosion and Strategic State Policy: The Case of Ethiopia, Ph.D. dissertation, Helsinki, Finland, University of Helsinki.Google Scholar
  28. Lamb, H.H.: 1988, 'Drought in Africa: the climatic background to a threatening problem of today's world', in Weather, Climate and Human Affairs: A Book of Essays and Other Papers, London, Routledge, pp. 194-214.Google Scholar
  29. Lamb, H.H.: 1995, Climate, History and the Modern World (2nd edition), London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Lohmann, R.: 1994, 'The need for enhanced international cooperation in addressing environmental migration issues', Paper submitted for the joint Government of Spain and the UN Secretary of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Convention on Desertification (INCD), Almeria, Spain: 9-11 February, 1994. Quoted in Overview of International Migration. Migration Management Training Programme, International Organization for Migration 1995.Google Scholar
  31. Marque, C. and Rosenwald, V.: 1997, The Agrarian Systems in a Small Region of Northern Ethiopia, Diploma, Agronomy, Paris, Institut National Agronomique de Paris-Grignon.Google Scholar
  32. Martin, P. and Lefebvre, M.: 1995, 'Malaria and climate-sensitivity of malaria potential transmission to climate', Ambio 24(4), 200-207.Google Scholar
  33. Maxwell, S. and Frankenberger, T.R.: 1992, Household Food Security: Concepts, Indicators, Measurements: A Technical Review, New York, UNICEF: International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD.Google Scholar
  34. McGregor, J.: 1993, 'Refugees and the environment', in R. Black and V. Robinson (eds), Geography and Refugees: Patterns and Processes of Change, Chichester, Belhaven.Google Scholar
  35. Mitchell, T.D. and Hulme, M.: 1999, 'Predicting regional climate change: living with uncertainty', Progr. Phys. Geogr. 23(1), 57-78.Google Scholar
  36. Mortimore, M.: 1998, Roots in the African Dust: Sustaining the Sub-Saharan Drylands, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Myers, N. and Kent, J.: 1995, Environmental Exodus: An Emergent Crisis in the Global Arena, Washinghton, D.C., Climate Institute.Google Scholar
  38. NEDECO, N.E.C.: 1997, Tekeze River Basin Integrated Development Master Plan Project, Federal democratic republic of Ethiopia. Ministry of water resources, Volume WR 1, Climatology.Google Scholar
  39. Nicholson, S.E.: 1989, 'Long-term changes in African rainfall', Weather 44(2), 46-56.Google Scholar
  40. Nicholson, S.E.: 1994, 'Recent rainfall fluctuations in Africa and their relationship to past conditions over the continent', Holocene 4(2), 121-131.Google Scholar
  41. Office of the Population and Housing Census Commission: 1991, Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia 1984, Analytical Report at National Level, Addis Abeba.Google Scholar
  42. Pankhurst, A.: 1988, 'Social dimensions of famine in Ethiopia: exchange, migration and integration', USSR Academy of Sciences-Africa Institute: Proceedings of the ninth International Congress of Ethiopian Studies, Moscow, 26-29 August 1986, Nauka Pub., Moscow.Google Scholar
  43. Pankhurst, R.: 1992, 'The history of deforestation and afforestation in Ethiopia prior to World War I', Sixth MSU Conf. Northeast Africa, April 23-25 1992.Google Scholar
  44. Parry, M. and Carter, T.: 1998, Climate Impact and Adaptation Assessment: A Guide to the IPCC Approach, London, Earthscan.Google Scholar
  45. Planning Office Tigray: 1997, National Regional State of Tigray. Integrated food security program for drought prone areas. 1998-2000, Mekelle, Ethiopia.Google Scholar
  46. Rahmato, D.: 1991, Famine and Survival Strategies: A Case Study from Northeast Ethiopia, Uppsala, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.Google Scholar
  47. Rahmato, D.: 1994, 'Neither feast nor famine: prospects for food security', in A. Zegeye and S. Pausewang (eds), Ethiopia in Change: Peasantry, Nationalism, and Democracy, London, New York, British Academic Press.Google Scholar
  48. Rayner, S. and Malone, E.L.: 1998, Human Choice and Climate Change, Columbus, Battelle Press.Google Scholar
  49. Relief and Rehabilitation Commission: 1979, Food Shortage Survey Report on Tigray, April 1979, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.Google Scholar
  50. Riely, F.: 1991, Household Responses to Recurrent Drought: A Case Study of the Kababish Pastoralists in Northern Kordofan, Sudan, Washington DC, International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
  51. Susman, P., O'Keefe and Wisner: 1983, 'Global disasters, a radical interpretation', in K. Hewitt (ed.), Interpretations of Calamity from the Viewpoint of Human Ecology, Boston, Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  52. Tarhule, A. and Woo, M.-K.: 1997, 'Towards an interpretation of historical droughts in northern Nigeria', Clim. Ch. 37(4), 601-616.Google Scholar
  53. Thomas, R.B., Paine, S.H.B.H. and Brenton, B.P.: 1989, 'Perspectives on socioeconomic causes of and responses to food deprivation', Food Nutr. bull. 11 (1). Transitional Government of Ethiopia: 1992, National Report on Environment and Development. Ethiopia. A Report prepared to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1992, Addis Abeba.Google Scholar
  54. Trolldalen, J.M., Birkeland, N.M., Borgen, J. and Scott, P.T.: 1992, Environmental Refugees-a discussion paper, World Foundation for Environment and Development, in cooperation with The Norwegian Refugee Council.Google Scholar
  55. Watson, R.T., Zinyowera, M.C. and Moss, R.H.: 1996, Climate Change 1995. Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate change: Scientific-Technical Analyses. Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Watts, M.: 1983, Silent Violence: Food, Famine & Peasantry in Northern Nigeria, Berkeley, University of California Press.Google Scholar
  57. Webb, P.: 1993, 'Coping with drought and food insecurity in Ethiopia', Disasters 17(1), 33-47.Google Scholar
  58. Webb, P., Von Braun, J. and Yohannes, Y.: 1992, Famine in Ethiopia: Policy Implications of Coping Failure at National and Household Levels, Research report; 92, Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
  59. Wolde Mariam, M.: 1984, Rural Vulnerability to Famine in Ethiopia: 1958-1977, New Delhi, Vikas Publishing House in association with Addis Ababa University.Google Scholar
  60. Wolde Mariam, M.: 1994, 'Suffering under God's environment: a vertical study of the predicament of peasants in north-central Ethiopia', J. Ethiop. Stud. XXVII(1), 189.Google Scholar
  61. Wolde-Georgis, T.: 1993, Survival Strategies and Coping Mechanisms of Peasants to Famine: The Case of Tigray, Ethiopia, Ph.D. dissertation, Denver, University of Denver.Google Scholar
  62. Wolde-Giorgis, D.: 1989, Red Tears: War, Famine, and Revolution in Ethiopia, Trenton, NJ, Red Sea Press.Google Scholar
  63. Wood, W.B.: 1995, 'Ecomigration-linkages between environmental change and migration', Office of The Geographer and Global Issues, US Department of State.Google Scholar
  64. Wudassie, Y.: 1991, The Impact of Traditional Agriculture on the Natural Resources in Northern Ethiopia with Emphasis on Eritrea and Tigray Regions, Ph.D. dissertation, Halle, Germany, Martin Luther University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Meze-Hausken
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations