Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change Nexus in Uganda (Final Report, March 2022) – Uganda – Advice Eating

Thousands forced to relocate in Uganda due to climate change and environmental degradation – IOM study

Kampala – A new research study commissioned by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Uganda shows thousands of people are being forced to relocate due to climate change and environmental degradation.

The research covered the districts of Bududa, Katakwi and Amudat in eastern Uganda. It was conducted by the Makerere University Center for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) in collaboration with the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment.

The study report “Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change Nexus in Uganda” captures significant evidence of migration caused by sudden and gradual negative impacts of environmental degradation and climate change.

According to the report, “Both slow-onset and sudden-onset climate and environmental changes are having a strong impact on population migration patterns in Uganda, but in different ways.”

“Sudden events (floods and landslides) often cause the destruction of livelihoods and displace affected populations, who are forced to leave their homes, mainly temporarily but in some cases permanently, such as the cases of landslides in the Mt. Elgon sub-region and flooding in the Teso sub-region .”

On the other hand, according to the study, many people have migrated and/or are expected to migrate due to the impact on their livelihoods due to the gradual land and environmental degradation.

The report was presented in Kampala on March 29 by Environment Minister Beatrice Atim Anywar.

“As a government, we welcome this report; We will have it alongside our planning and strategies. It’s become clearer and clearer to us what roles we play to make sure we’re walking the same path [on environment] for sustainable living,” she said.

Revocatus Twinomuhangi, coordinator of MUCCRI, presented the findings and expressed the hope that the report would support effective policy interventions.

“Uganda needs to develop a comprehensive migration policy that includes both internal and international migration, voluntary and forced migration, as well as planned relocation and/or resettlement and migration as an adaptation strategy,” Twinomuhangi said.

Sanusi Tejan Savage, Head of Mission of IOM Uganda, assured the government of the organization’s unwavering support to integrate migration issues into national and local climate change laws, policies and action plans.

“Together we will work to raise public awareness of the link between environmental degradation, climate change and displacement,” he said.

The report states that rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall are contributing to water crises, declining soil productivity, livestock losses and ultimately loss of livelihoods, forcing people to relocate. Conflicts over land and resources are common when people are forced to relocate due to climate-related challenges, which in turn exacerbates poverty. The hardest hit are women, children and people with disabilities.

The results of the study will feed into IOM’s ongoing work on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC).

“Now that the evidence clearly links environmental degradation to climate change displacement, IOM will redouble its efforts in this direction,” Savage said.

The World Bank estimates that about 200,000 Ugandans have been affected by weather-related disasters each year for the past two decades. Parts of the country, including the capital Kampala, are prone to flash floods, mudslides, landslides and droughts. However, a report released by the World Bank in 2021 found that by 2050 up to 12 million people, or 11 percent of the population, could relocate within Uganda due to slow-onset climate factors without concrete climate and development action being taken.

The minister and the head of mission signed a pledge board in which they committed to increase cooperation on migration management issues related to climate change, environment and natural disasters.

IOM’s MECC department was established in 2015 to oversee, coordinate and support activities related to migration, environment and climate change. It supports national, regional and international efforts to address human mobility challenges related to environmental factors and climate change, including through research.

For further information / media inquiries please contact the IOM Uganda Public Information Officer,

Richard M. Kavuma, at ugandapiu@iom.int | Tel: +256 312 263 210 | +256 772 709 917

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