The Future Earth MENA Regional Center (FEMRC) and The Cyprus Institute (CyI) were actively participating in a hybrid conference on Sustainability Research + Innovation 2022 (SRI2022) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from June 19-24, 2022. This is the second such conference organized under the auspices of the Belmont Forum and Future Earth.

Director of the FEMRC, Prof. Manfred Lange was the convener of a session on “Climate Change, Migration and the Need to Enable Sustainable Development” and CyI Assistant Vice-President for Institute Affairs, Dr Nicolas Jarraud was one of the presenters as well as a participant in a panel discussion, which followed a series of presentations during the session. Other participants were Prof. Wolfgang Cramer, from the Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie Marine et Continentale (IMBE) France; Dr Çağdaş Dedeoğlu from Yorkville University, Canada; and Prof. Vally Koubi, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.

The session addressed the fact that climate change and its impacts pose severe risks to human security that may lead people to leave their community/country in search for more livable conditions. In so doing, principles and appropriate actions to enable sustainable lifestyles are often compromised. The main aim of the session was to discuss drivers of migration and to provide evidence for measures and strategies promoting sustainable development in the context of adaptation to climate change.

In the Introduction to the session, Manfred Lange provided some background on the general relations between climate- and environmental change and migration, taking into account the role of other drivers; he also provided a short introduction of the geographical focus of the discussions, i.e., the African continent and the Mediterranean.

Prof. Wolfgang Cramer presented a brief introduction into the work of the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC), the first Mediterranean Assessment Report of MedECC and current observations regarding climate change and migration in the Mediterranean.

A brief overview on the work of the Migration Task Force of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East Climate Change Initiative (EMME-CCI), with an emphasis on recommendations for adaptation strategies and measures to climate change aimed to enable and enhance sustainable development was given by Dr Nicolas Jarraud.

Prof. Vally Koubi described migration crises related to climate and environmental change from different locations with a focus on the African continent.

Finally, Dr Çağdaş Dedeoğlu presented the findings of his current project on Posthumanism for Sustainability with respect to climate and mobility justice in the context of the theme of the session.

The following panel discussion wrapped up the main conclusions of the previous presentations. It was emphasized that environmental and climate changes represent threats to human life and livelihoods, which lead to (primarily) internal and cross-border migration on/from the African continent. Impacts of climate change likely to undermine water- and food security of rural and urban communities may cause coping strategies of the affected communities that are often highly inappropriate and/or unsustainable.

This needs to be addressed in the wider context of achieving a sustainable Africa. However, the relationships between climate change impacts and human migration/mobility are multi-facetted and inter-related. Thus, understanding the Climate Change-Migration-Sustainable Development Nexus remains an important challenge. MedECC is currently preparing a report on “Environmental Change, Conflict and Human Migration”.

Source: The Cyprus Institute (