Displacement in a changing climate

This thematic series explores the scale, patterns, drivers and impacts of internal displacement associated with slow-onset environmental change and disasters to inform policies and practices for managing and reducing displacement risk.

Research agenda

Internal displacement associated with slow-onset environmental change and disasters is a complex and dynamic phenomenon. Often hard to distinguish from internal migration, displacement driven by gradually evolving environmental change is primarily a development issue.

It is difficult to paint a consistent picture of displacement associated with slow-onset events because of the wide range of phenomena, impacts, drivers and types of movement they provoke and regions they affect. It is neither easy to characterise, nor easy to plan for, and more concrete examples and evidence of how displacement occurs in different situations is needed to inform more solid risk assessments and evaluations of appropriate policy responses.

Latest publication

No land, no water, no pasture: the urbanisation of drought displacement in Somalia

IDMC embarked on a research programme in December 2018 to investigate internal displacement associated with slow-onset disasters and environmental change. 

This study examines displacement associated with drought in Somalia, and the ways in which the phenomenon has affected urbanisation in the country. It also seeks to contribute to a better understanding of policies and programming for durable solutions. The findings presented are based on more than 210 interviews conducted in October and November 2019 in the cities of Burco, Galkayo and Qardho. 

Research lead

Bina Desai

We are always looking to strengthen and expand our existing partnerships. If you are interested in working with us on slow-onset disaster displacement, please contact bina.desai@idmc.ch.

Have a look at our other research areas here