Migration and Household Adaptation in Climate-Sensitive Hotspots in South Asia

Amina Maharjan, Ricardo Safra de Campos, Chandni Singh, Shouvik Das, Arjun Srinivas, Mohammad Rashed Alam Bhuiyan, Sultan Ishaq, Muhammad Awais Umar, Tanzina Dilshad, Krity Shrestha, Suruchi Bhadwal, Tuhin Ghosh, Natalie Suckall, Katharine Vincent | 2020


Purpose of Review
South Asia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, owing to the high dependency on climatesensitive livelihoods and recurrent extreme events. Consequently, an increasing number of households are adopting labour migration as a livelihood strategy to diversify incomes, spread risks, and meet aspirations. Under the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) initiative, four research consortia have investigated migration patterns and their inherent linkages to adaptation to climate change in climate hotspots. This article synthesizes key findings in regional context of South Asia.
Recent Findings
The synthesis suggests that in climate-sensitive hotspots, migration is an important livelihood diversification strategy and a response to various risks, including climate change. Typically, one or more household members, often young men, migrated internally or internationally to work in predominantly informal sectors. Remittances helped spatially diversify household income, spread risks, and insure against external stressors. The outcomes of migration are often influenced by who moves, where to, and what capacities they possess.
Migration was found to help improve household adaptive capacity, albeit in a limited capacity. Migration was mainly used as a response to risk and uncertainty, but with potential to have positive adaptation co-benefits.