Livelihoods under stress

SÉMINAIRE/ SEMINAR

CFEE Seminar on Contemporary Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (2014-2015)

8e séance / 8th session : Livelihoods under stress: population movements in response to extreme climate change scenarios, par / by Julia BLOCHER

Cette séance est organisée en partenariat avec le Centre des sciences de l’environnement de l’Université d’Addis-Abeba / This session is organised in partnership with the Center for environmental sciences of Addis Ababa University.

Vendredi 17 avril 2015 (14h) / Friday, April 17th 2015 (2:00 pm). Lieu / Venue : Addis Ababa University, College of Natural Science, Arat Kilo Campus, Graduate Building, room 616 (6th floor).

Livelihoods under stress: population movements in response to extreme climate change scenarios

Addressing the interlinkages between environment, climate change and population movements has been an “emerging” concern for scholars and practitioners for over two decades. In recent years, debates on environmental migration have shifted from a securitized narrative foretelling waves of so-called “environmental refugees” to one that views migration phenomena as customary responses to changing conditions while putting forward migration as a potential climate change adaptation strategy in itself. However, the policy apparatus to deliver this potential has yet to be explored, in part because researchers struggle to forecast the effects of climate change on migration patterns with any certainty. This is attributed to the nature of migration, as environmental factors interplay with other migration drivers and specific vulnerabilities.

Blocher argues that climate change is likely to affect the magnitude, spatial scales, and characteristics of usual mobility patterns. Using natural hazard events analogous to the projected impacts of extreme climate change scenarios which motivated recent studies carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa, this presentation explores the effects of climate extremes on mobility as well as immobility of populations, with an emphasis on the role of vulnerabilities. Finally, the potential of current legal and policy frameworks – including those related to disasters emanating from organizations with protection mandates – is assessed from the standpoint of providing solutions to communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The speaker

Julia Blocher is a researcher and PhD Candidate at the Institute for Human and Social Sciences at the University of Liège (CEDEM) and a Research Assistant for the recently launched “Politics of the Earth” program at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). Her research deals with the relationship between environmental and climate changes and human mobility in East Africa, with an emphasis on the role of socio-political factors. Blocher is currently part of two main European Union-supported research projects, as a researcher for the ‘High-End Climate Impacts and eXtremes’ (HELIX) consortium and serving as a research advisor for the ‘Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy (MECLEP)’ project led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Blocher has previously led a career with the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). She has contributed to a number of publications on environmentally-induced migration and displacement and holds a master’s degree in International Affairs: Environment, Sustainable Development and Risks from Sciences Po Paris.

Photo : Deadly floods hit Somalia (Credit: Oxfam East Africa)


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