Good Governance, Political Conflict

Climate-Induced Migration and Instability: The Role of City Governments

Author(s): Ambika Chawla
Date: June 5, 2017
Publication Type: Discussion Paper
Research Topics: Good Governance, Political Conflict

Overview:

Trends in urbanization and climate change are altering the nature of human settlements. As the number and impact of severe weather events increases, countries and cities are forced to cope. The limited governance mechanisms and financial constraints of many developing cities restrain capacity for dealing with complex urban problems. This paper describes how climate change is linked to urban fragility, crime, and violence, and emphasizes the important role of city governments in addressing peace and security challenges associated with climate migration. 

Key Findings:

  • Rural-to-urban migration resulting from climate change effects is expected to continue in the coming decades. Many climate migrants are moving to “fragile cities” characterized by poor governance and limited capacity to provide their residents with adequate infrastructure and social services. Influxes of climate migrants are likely to exacerbate these problems, and migrants may experience exclusion from government services when they arrive in cities in low- and middle-income countries.
  • As urbanization increases, the focus within the discourse on governance, peace, and security is increasingly shifting from the fragile state to the fragile city. Poor governance and an inability to deliver services in fragile cities result in city dwellers being exposed to violence and instability. 
  • Existing research on provision of social services and integration into governance systems suggests that in general, exclusion from the procedures or benefits of such systems can contribute to intergroup tensions, crime, and political instability. 
  • City governments can play an important role in peace and security. In contrast to national and international actors, local government authorities are in close proximity to their residents and can design policies and initiatives rooted in local realities. Strategies to improve public infrastructure, legal systems, and service delivery and include local groups in city governance can reduce the vulnerabilities of climate migrants and associated security risks.
  • In order to tackle local-level challenges, city institutions need to build partnerships with international actors. They should strengthen ties with UN agencies, multinational companies, regional and international banks, think tanks, and international humanitarian and peacebuilding organizations. The building of bridges with global research programs can fill in the gaps in knowledge on urban trends, governance, migration, and security. Enhanced knowledge can help city leaders design better policies and programs to address the climate–migration– security nexus, and stronger partnerships with humanitarian organizations can help effectively deliver humanitarian assistance.

Related Publications

Recent Trends in Civil War Dynamics

Reassessing Rebellion

Written by Jay Benson, John Filitz, Eric Keels, Joshua Lambert on March 15, 2019

Though historically the number of armed conflicts has been declining, there has been a recent surge in ongoing civil wars. Intrastate armed conflicts therefore represent a persistent and dangerous threat to global stability.

Read more
A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Peace is Ours: A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Written by Alexandra Amling, Timothy Schommer, Illustrator: Chloé Dolic on March 6, 2019

Peace is Ours is the story of a young couple, Ximena and Jair, who attempt to build their lives in the shadow of the Colombian peace process in 2016.

Read more
gender and reintegration in colombia

The Missing Peace: Gender Considerations in Colombia's Reintegration Efforts

Written by Alexandra Amling on March 5, 2019

Gender perspectives are understood as the differences in needs and challenges of men, women, boys, and girls which are based on the social construction of gender roles and norms.

Read more
exploring the puzzle rebel terrorism

Exploring the Puzzle of Rebel Terrorism

Written by Eric Keels on December 11, 2018

The decision by rebel groups to employ terrorism is influenced, in part, by the structure of rebel organizations as well as the strategic environment in which they operate.

Read more
The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

Written by John Filitz on July 19, 2018

This discussion paper analyzes the structural and causal factors that led to the collapse of Mozambique’s landmark 1992 General Peace Agreement in October 2013 and why they matter for the country’s future stability.

Read more
Private Sector Role in Reporting

The Role of the Private Sector in Support of Reporting Under SDG 16

Written by Conor Seyle, Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies on March 1, 2018

In Sustainable Development Goal 16, UN member states committed themselves to tracking and releasing information about the closely related issues of peace, justice, inclusion, and good governance.  Collecting good data about these issues is difficult

Read more

The Geography of Violence Against Civilians: Implications for Peace Enforcement

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

UN peacekeeping operations have evolved in recent years to include more robust missions that pursue peace enforcement in a way not previously seen.

Read more
cover of geography of violence against civilians

Policy Brief: Peace Enforcement and the Geography of Violence Against Civilians

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

Peace enforcement has become the subject of vigorous debate among both policy makers and academics working in the field of peace operations.

Read more

Pages