15/01/2018

In a time when the nexus food-migration is at the center of public debate, MacroGeo, BCFN and the CMCC Foundation developed the study “Food & Migration. Understanding the geopolitical nexus in the Euro-Mediterranean”. 
The report offers a wider understanding of flows and trends of the current and future interlinkages between food and migration, with a focus on the trans-Mediterranean countries, through a geopolitical perspective. The study aims on the one hand at bringing food security and nutrition into the discussion surrounding the push factors of migration, also in relation to climate change impacts, and to consider food value chains as a lever for local development; on the other hand to introduce a research agenda on the socio-cultural changes to food systems in countries of destination due to migration.

Climate change is indeed an important factor when assessing the past, present and future vulnerability of countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants.
CMCC researchers Monia Santini, Luca Caporaso, Giuliana Barbato and Sergio Noce explore this issue in the chapter “Climate change and human migrations” within the aforementioned report. 
The study aimed at improving the knowledge about the resources’ vulnerability to climate change, potentially affecting displacements and/or conflicts, in all the countries affected by migrations (origin, transit, destination). To this end, the observed and expected changes in the exposure and sensitivity to climate hazards, as component of vulnerability assessment, have been analyzed, looking at trends and extremes of meteorological conditions, agricultural yield and water availability along the historical and future periods for the trans-Mediterranean migrations’ region, which recently deserved particular attention due to the spatio-temporal changeability of routes, people involved and issues triggered (institutional divergences, human rights, cultural diversities, social instabilities, employment conducts, health problems).

Results highlighted that over the long term, climate modifications across the trans-Mediterranean region appear stronger than general global trends. In the future, in the trans-Mediterranean region climate change and variability could lead to a warming around 0.7°C within the next couple of decades, which will more than double by 2050. 
Therefore, the study shows that not only the area of origin of trans-Mediterranean migrations (African countries and Middle East) will be increasingly affected by climate change hazards impacting water and food systems, but also European countries. This constitutes not only a risk but also an opportunity for food production, as the modified climate conditions have the potential to increase suitability for new or currently minor cultivations in the north of the Mediterranean basin, while the southern side will lose productivity for major crops analysed, such as maize, wheat, rice, soybean (which share large part of global cereal and leguminous-oil crop production and cover energy and protein requirements for the human diet) if not adapting to climate change.

For more information, read the integral version of the report.