CLIMB: Climate-Induced Migration in Africa and Beyond: Big Data and Predictive Analytics

2023 – 2025 | Belmont Forum

Partner institutions

Stefano Iacus – Harvard University
Stefan Lang – Paris Lodron University Salzburg
Laure Tall – IPAR Senegal
Emmanuele Letouze – Data Pop Alliance

Research objectives

Climate change (interlinked with humanitarian crises and other economic and health factors) could lead to internal resettlement, international migration, and other (new) forms of human mobility. However, the empirical link between various climatic conditions and migration outcomes is highly contested, and, to date, no unified theoretical approach can adequately capture the complexity and contextual dependency of climate-induced migration. To address this gap, CLIMB seeks to develop a holistic approach which will allow us to better understand the mechanisms and pathways underlying the climate-migration nexus, namely how climate change may intersect with conflicts, poverty, and epidemics, among other adversities, and how these forces may operate in tandem in driving human migration.
As climate risks are more likely to affect mobility within administrative areas/countries, CLIMB will adopt a bottom-up approach: rather than aiming for a global study, we will collect timely and granular data on specific cases where the climate-migration nexus can be more apparent conceptually and empirically. Senegal is chosen as our first case study. The country is projected to experience more extreme weather events which could force up to one million people to move by 2050. Moreover, call data records (CDR) provided through a partnership with Sonatel (the principal telecom provider of Senegal) offers a unique opportunity to study mobility patterns at a high resolution. CLIMB will also leverage earth observation and social media data, and combine them with survey and official statistical data. This holistic approach will allow us to analyze the migration process from a multi-stage perspective (e.g. from internal displacement to onward/return migration), and gain more insights into the temporality of climate-induced migration. It will also allow us to better understand how migratory processes are shaped by multi-level (macro, meso, and micro) factors: climate risks, socio-economic crises, public opinion, social networks, and human perceptions, aspirations and capabilities, among others.