Social protection as a strategy to address climate-induced migration

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Purpose: This paper aims to discuss the roles of social protection in reducing and facilitating climate-induced migration. Social protection gained attention in the international climate negotiations with the establishment of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Yet, its potential to address migration, considered as a key issue in the loss and damage debate, has not been sufficiently explored. This paper aims at identifying key characteristics of social protection schemes which could effectively address climate-induced migration and attempts to derive recommendations for policy design. Design/methodology/approach: Based on the existing literature, the paper links empirical evidence on the effects of social protection to climate-related drivers of migration and the needs of vulnerable populations. This approach allows conceptually identifying characteristics of effective social protection policies. Findings: Findings indicate that social protection can be part of a proactive approach to managing climate-induced migration both in rural and urban areas. In particular, public work programmes offer solutions to different migration outcomes, from no to permanent migration. Benefits are achieved when programmes explicitly integrate climate change impacts into their design. Social protection can provide temporary support to facilitate migration, in situ adaptation or integration and adaptation in destination areas. It is no substitution for but can help trigger sustainable adaptation solutions. Originality/value: The paper helps close research gaps regarding the potential roles and channels of social protection for addressing and facilitating climate-induced migration and providing public support in destination, mostly in urban areas.




Schwan, S., & Yu, X. (2018). Social protection as a strategy to address climate-induced migration. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 10(1), 43–64.

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