Climate Change, Migration, and Vulnerability
Mikiyasu Nakayama, Scott Drinkall, and Daisuke Sasaki
Professor, Department of International Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo
5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8563, Japan
Visiting Researcher, Environmental Law Institute
1730 M Street, NW, 700 Washington, D.C. 20036, USA
Assistant Professor, International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS),
468-1 Aoba, Aramaki, Aoba, Sendai,
Miyagi 980-0845, Japan
As global sea levels continue to rise, atoll countries—facing persistent and imminent risk—are expected to become source nations of climate migrants in the foreseeable future. This special issue features 10 academic articles, which examine if residents in Pacific atoll countries were, are, or will be ready to re-establish their livelihoods after relocation.
The topic of migration is akin to a kaleidoscope, with continuously evolving shapes and colors, necessitating a broad spectrum of approaches across various disciplines. The authors of these articles thus examined the topic through mathematics, civil engineering, cultural and disaster studies, economics, education, geography, international relations, language, law, sociology and politics. The methodologies applied range from policy analysis to structural equation modeling.
Migration driven by climate change takes place gradually, even over a few decades. Unlike forced migration due to causes such as war and conflict, future climate migrants have the short-term advantage of time to ready themselves for displacement from their homeland. Preparation prior to relocation may include enhancing one’s language or vocational skills.
One of the focal points of this special issue is therefore the preparedness of migrants, both past and future. Case studies were carried out across Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and the United States.
We also considered how migrants are received following resettlement, both in terms of legal instruments and assistance given by the public and private sectors. Case studies conducted in Austria and the United States address this aspect.
Yet another focus is to identify prevailing factors through which people develop their perceptions of climate change and its implications, for such perceptions are a driving force for migration. Case studies in Kiribati and the Marshall Islands contribute to this understanding.
We hope this special issue sharpens the vision of climate change and migration, and serves as a stepping stone for further research in the field.