Climate change will push 143 million people from Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America to migrate within their countries by 2050, said a latest report by the World Bank Group.
The report, titled “Groundswell – Preparing for Internal Climate Migration,” projects that over 143 million could be forced to move within their own countries to escape the “slow onset impact” of climate change.
The three regions represent 55 per cent of the developing world’s population, said the report published Monday on the World Bank’s website.
“Increasingly, we are seeing climate change become an engine of migration, forcing individuals, families and even whole communities to seek more viable and less vulnerable places to live,” said World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva.
The report finds that internal climate migration will likely rise through 2050 and then accelerate unless there are significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and robust development action.
The bank noted that countries in the three regions can expect to see climate-induced hotspots of population influx or outflow.
People will migrate from less viable areas with lower water availability and crop productivity, and from areas affected by rising sea levels and storm surges.
The poorest and most climate vulnerable areas will be hardest hit by “out-migration”, a term used in the report referring to the outbound migration from climate-change impacted areas.
Whereas locations with better climatic conditions for agriculture as well as cities able to provide better livelihood opportunities will become “climate in-migration hotspots,” namely areas which will see climate- change induced population increases.
“In-migration” can create a positive momentum if managed carefully and supported by good development policies and targeted investments.
“Otherwise, it may add stress on services and resources in those places,” the world bank said.
To help reduce the number of people being forced to move in distressed locations, the report called on countries from the three areas to cut greenhouse gas emissions, embed climate migration in development planning, and invest to improve understanding of internal climate migration.
“The number of climate migrants could be reduced by tens of millions as a result of global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and with far-sighted development planning,” said Georgieva.
“We support countries to tackle their climate challenges and to build robust social protection systems” such as investing in solar and wind powered projects,” she added.