Southern Responses to Displacement PI, Prof Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, spoke on BBC Radio 4 PM programme (at 46.36) about the relationship between climate change and displacement, in light of discussions at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Drawing on an article published as part of the Southern Responses to Displacement research project (which you can read here), Prof Fiddian-Qasmiyeh provided an important counter-narrative to the dominant ‘crisis’ rhetoric relating to climate change and migration that is often put forward by politicians and some media actors, noting that this crisis narrative is mobilised to justify failures that are political in nature, and to introduce increasingly repressive policies.
Drawing on the existing evidence, Prof Fiddian-Qasmiyeh argued that, although many people will be displaced due to worsening environmental conditions related to climate change, most people will either stay in their countries of origin or migrate to neighbouring countries. There is no evidence that there will be mass global migration movements, in spite of politicians and media actors invoking fear and dominant narratives of crisis associated with migration. Rather, as demonstrated in research such as the Southern Responses to Displacement project, people will draw on and adapt existing networks, communities and livelihood strategies to navigate and seek solutions to displacement. Prof Fiddian-Qasmiyeh concluded that what is needed is more meaningful political responses and political responsibilities to support people as they strive to rebuild their lives in conditions of politically-produced precarity.
You can listen to the interview below.
To read more articles by Prof. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh on migration and climate change please see the recommended reading below:
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2020) Responding to Precarity in Baddawi Camp in the Era of Covid-19. Journal of Palestine Studies
Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2019) ‘Looking Forward: Disasters at 40,’ Disasters, 43(S1):S36-S60 (Open Access here).
Or you can watch Prof. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh discuss how Covid-19 is impacting people living in poverty around the world here.