Governing Climate Mobility (GCM)


Project summary

Understanding the impacts of climate change on human mobility is a serious challenge for the 21st century. We know that climate change shapes socio-economic dynamics in ways that intensify household vulnerability and insecurity. and that it interacts with a number of drivers of migration that hit the most vulnerable hardest. Yet, despite strong research literatures on climate change and migration, the nature of this relationship remains under-researched even as climate change impacts are intensifying. Specifically lacking is an understanding of how the nature of governance affects climate-related mobility, referred to in the program as ’climate mobility’, at the local level.

The program Governing Climate Mobility (GCM) sets out to address this need. Its main research objective is to determine how differing governance contexts, national and local, affect adaptive climate mobility.

GCM focuses on slow-onset climate change in two countries, Ethiopia and Ghana, that are experiencing similar environmental and climate challenges, where households practice migration in many forms, but where systems of governance are quite different. Ethiopia is seen as being a developmental state, ’statist’ in land and resource management, hierarchical and centralised. Ghana is seen as ’neo-customary’, with local informal institutions and traditional authorities operating alongside formal.

GCM works at different analytical levels - local field studies, national politics and policies, international comparisons - to generate new theoretical and empirical insights into climate mobility, to inform policy at country and international levels, and to strengthen research collaboration and capacities in the three partner countries - Ethiopia, Ghana and Denmark.