Dealing with Climate Migration in Africa – A New Way Forward

COP26 has concentrated on efforts to reach zero net emissions. But it is also important to ensure the resilience of communities affected by climate change. This is precisely what the global partnership Africa Climate Mobility Initiative (ACMI) has in mind. ACMI is a real opportunity for inclusive climate action on the African continent, says Raphaela Schweiger, program director in the field of migration at the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Raphaela Schweiger | November 2021
Klimabedingte Migration Afrika
stock.adobe.com / Ronny

The climate crisis is affecting large parts of Africa. A 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that temperatures in Africa would rise faster than the global average over the next decades. Extreme weather events, water scarcity, lower crop yields, sea level rises and environmental degradation might threaten the livelihoods of tens of millions of people – and uproot millions of them. But climate change is interconnected with many other drivers of migration, making it even more difficult to tease out the crucial relationship between climate-related events and the mobility patterns of people.

Yet, there are opportunities to tackle these challenges and find political and practical solutions.

Raphaela Schweiger
Michael Fuchs

About the author

Raphaela Schweiger is program director in the field of migration at the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The Foundation's objective is to help shape migration policy, governance and practice through far-sighted, inclusive approaches that center around human dignity as a guiding principle.

The Africa Climate Mobility Initiative (ACMI) is an unprecedented global partnership launched by the African Union Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank, joined by academics, practitioners, policymakers and philanthropic organizations, including the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Its goal is to generate political momentum to identify solutions to tackle climate-forced mobility on the African continent. The ACMI will advance data-based solutions to support people-centered resilience and adaptation to climate mobility – to protect communities and those on the move at the regional and local levels.

ACMI combines data collection, field research and state-of-the art modeling techniques. It builds on cutting-edge modeling by Columbia University that uses emissions-reduction and development-progress scenarios to generate different climate mobility projections for 2030, 2040, and 2050. The Mixed Migration Center is undertaking household and focus-group surveys and other primary data collections in seven hot-spot areas across Africa. The scale of the task requires to pursue new and different forms of partnerships, breaking the usual silos.

COP26 has concentrated on efforts to reach zero net emissions. But now it is crucial that the world in parallel steps up on climate adaptation and ensuring the resilience of affected communities. It is time for people-centered climate action. So-called adaptation finance accounts for barely a quarter of total climate funding, and commitments in this area to developing and less developed countries have yet to be met – and the financing gap in the case of cities is particularly stark. If adaptation and resilience continue to receive little attention in the climate action equation, the international community’s promise to “leave no one behind” is doomed to failure.

The climate change conference COP27 in 2022 will be an African one. Africa is on the frontline of the global climate crisis, and the meeting in Egypt will be an unprecedented opportunity for African voices to lead the agenda. Working towards COP27 and beyond, ACMI is a real opportunity for inclusive climate action on the African continent. And we at the Robert Bosch Stiftung are proud to be a part of this long overdue process.