Media Corner




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Press Releases

July 10, 2023: Migration in Times of Climate and Environmental Stress: International Network Cofounded by the University of Vienna

from the University of Vienna

(Deutsch) 10. Juli, 2023: Migrationen in Zeiten von Klima- und Umwelt-Stress: Internationales Netzwerk von Uni Wien mit-initiiert

von der Universität Wien

Some Numbers from ECMN23

3 Days

5 Blocks
19 Sessions
94 Presentations
6 Workshops


Registered On-Site Participants


Registered Online Participants

Insights From ECMN23

Science has shown that the narrative, “climate and environmental change lead to human displacement” is oversimplified, and that the relation between these topics isn’t always so straightforward.

What’s clear is that the way people move (or stay put) is varied and diverse—likewise, when it comes to aspects of climate and environmental change.

Researchers approach the topic of environmental and climate mobilities from a broad range of themes and methodologies, spanning several scientific disciplines. Sometimes they uncover facts that are counterintuitive and surprising.

Explore perspectives from the experts here, collected throughout the ECMN23 conference. Press “play” to listen to an audio snippet.

“For families in Pakistan’s eastern Hindu Kush mountains, migration can be adaptive to climate change in some aspects, and maladaptive in others, even within the same household.

Household surveys revealed that the most common positive outcomes of migration in this region are increased incomes and improved access to health and education, while the most common negative outcomes are an increased burden on women and elderly people, challenges to family support, and food insecurity.”

Saeed A. Khan

Doctoral Candidate, University of Bayreuth

“In the Indian Himalayan Region, migration is both a cause and consequence of local vulnerabilities, and the impacts of climate change compound that. Migration is therefore unlikely to have success as a climate change adaptation strategy unless development policy can address the underlying causes of vulnerability, including the needs and priorities of staying communities.”

Himani Upadhyay

Researcher, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

“Gender intersects with factors at the climate-migration nexus, creating unique experiences and challenges in the face of climate change. We urgently need more nuanced research on such social dimensions.”

Read the full statement

“Climate change, migration, and human mobility are deeply intertwined subjects that demand our attention and understanding. While recent research has shed some light on these complex interactions, significant gaps still remain. For instance, the impacts of climate change are not homogeneous. They vary greatly along geographical lines and have profoundly different consequences for different social groups, which, in turn, influence their mobility decisions.

A prime example of this is the differing experiences of various gender groups. I want to stress here that by gender, I don’t mean sex, which is often used in the name of gender. Gender isn’t binary; it’s a complex and diverse spectrum of identities and social roles that intersects with other factors, creating unique experiences and challenges in the face of climate change.

We urgently need more nuanced research that acknowledges these complexities and helps us gain an integrated understanding of the climate-migration nexus. This includes recognizing how social dimensions and climate impacts interplay in shaping migration decisions. Such research is not only crucial for advancing our knowledge but also instrumental in formulating inclusive and effective strategies to address the intricate challenges posed by climate change and migration.”

Dr. Simon Bunchuay-Peth
Social Geographer & Migration Researcher,
University of Vienna

“Outcomes of migration as climate change adaptation can range from success to maladaptation. Our research has shown that there are trade-offs within this autonomous adaptation approach in terms of wellbeing, equity, and sustainability, which can also lead to loss and damage for migrants and their families. Without targeted policy or programme support, these trade-offs could potentially undermine the success of migration as adaptation.”

Dr. Lucy Szaboova

Climate Change & Migration Researcher, University of Exeter, UK

“In this network, we aim to foster solid collaboration among researchers, but also to communicate the scientific results to decision-makers and practitioners.”

Prof. Dr. Patrick Sakdapolrak

Human Geographer & Migration Reseacher, University of Vienna

“Migrants, especially women, children, and indigenous peoples, are among the most vulnerable populations in Mexico, due to criminalization, violence, trafficking, and migrant smuggling. Several studies show that the impact of climate change, disasters, and environmental degradation have become an expulsion (and immobilizing) factor in the country and in Central America.

Mexico is one of the few countries that has included provisions regarding the recognition, assistance, and protection of affected people. However, there has not been a direct Mexican response to protect “climate migrants,” and there is still a clear need for a general law protecting people affected by internal displacement.”

Dr. Beatriz Felipe Pérez

Environmental Law, Climate Migration & Global Justice Researcher, Rovira i Virgili University

“Looking at climate mobilities literature, you get the sense that men have no gender. There is an implicit bias that ‘gender equals women.’ Gender does not equal women—and yet this is what we have found. Because gender is not defined in most mobility literature, we miss a focus on masculinities.

Future research should pay closer attention to how gender is socially constructed and why women are often found to be more vulnerable to climate change impacts.”

Dr. Caroline Zickgraf

Climate Change & Migration Researcher, University of Liège

“According to studies, the fishery practices and mobilities of the Fante fisherfolk from Ghana on the West African coast were in part historically influenced by colonial settlers. These fisherfolk became nomadic as they followed seasonal fish flows and fish markets to sustain their livelihood and meet the increasing demand for food fish.

Today, I find in my ongoing research that these important cross-border fishing and trade mobilities are shaped by multiple socio-environmental and climatic factors that influence the seasonal flows and abundance of fish. But on the other hand, these mobilities are increasingly being challenged by various emerging regulations ranging from fishery closures and restrictions to maritime security measures that contribute to securitizing the sea in the Gulf of Guinea, and also border controls in the West Africa region.”

Iddrisu Amadu

Doctoral Candidate, Wageningen University

“As our research is trying to highlight, the people of Tuvalu are regaining control by reclaiming their land, cementing their maritime borders, and even moving toward establishing themselves as a mobile, digital state. They don’t want to be subordinate to this narrative of being climate refugees, but rather to self-determine their adaptation futures.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ingrid Boas

Environmental Change & Human Mobility Researcher, Wageningen University

ECMN23 in the Media

Salzburger Nachrichten :: Migration aufgrund der Klimakrise: Forscher wollen Politik informieren, womit in Österreich zu rechnen ist

Neues Wissenschaftsnetzwerk will Fragen zu Klimamigration innerhalb Österreichs nachgehen und damit Forschungslücken schließen…

APA :: Migrationen in Zeiten von Klima- und Umwelt-Stress

Die Gründungskonferenz des “Environmental & Climate Mobilities Network” startet am 10. Juli 2023 in Wien. Wie und in welchem Ausmaß Klima- oder Umweltveränderungen Migration beeinflussen, wird in der Gesellschaft teilweise heiß diskutiert …

ORF news :: Mehr Forschung zu Klimaflucht

Welche Rolle Klimaveränderungen und Erderwärmung für Migration und Flucht spielen, wird in Politik und Öffentlichkeit heftig diskutiert. Dabei gibt es noch viele offene Fragen. Ein neues internationales Forschungsnetzwerk, an dem auch die Universität Wien beteiligt ist, will die Debatte nun auf ein wissensbasiertes Fundament stellen…

ORF news :: Forschungsnetzwerk zu klimabedingter Migration startet

Wie und in welchem Ausmaß Klimakrise und Umweltveränderungen Migration beeinflussen, wird in Gesellschaft und Politik oft heftig diskutiert, doch oft fehlen dabei Fakten und wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse. Ein neues internationales Netzwerk will den Dialog über Umwelt- und Klimamigration zwischen Fachleuten und mit Politik und Gesellschaft fördern. Heute startet an der Universität Wien die Gründungskonferenz des „Environmental & Climate Mobilities Network“. …

Press Contact

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Patrick Sakdapolrak
Tel.: +43-1-4277-48730

University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research,
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna

Dipl.-Geogr. Dr. Simon Bunchuay-Peth
Tel.: +43-1-4277-48686
University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research,
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna 

Gregory Manni BA
University of Vienna
Department of Geography and Regional Research,
Universitätsstraße 7
1010 Vienna