Forced migration or displacement
In studying forced or involuntary migration—sometimes referred to as forced or involuntary displacement—a distinction is often made between conflict-induced and disaster-induced displacement. Displacement induced by conflict is typically referred to as caused by humans, whereas natural causes typically underlay displacement caused by disasters. The definitions of these concepts are useful, but the lines between them may be blurred in practice because conflicts may arise due to disputes over natural resources and human activity may trigger natural disasters such as landslides. Countries faced with forced displacement—induced by humans or nature—collect data on displaced populations. Such data are typically collected through a combination of population censuses, household surveys, border counts, administrative records and beneficiary registers. At the international level, data on forced migration are collected and/or compiled by various intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
Quantifying environmental migration is challenging given the multiple drivers of such movement, related methodological challenges and the lack of data collection standards. Some quantitative data exist on population displacement within a country, and to a lesser degree across borders, due to natural hazards. However, for migration due to slow-onset environmental processes, such as drought or sea-level rise, most existing data are qualitative and based on case studies, with few comparative studies. While data gaps persist, research methodologies are constantly being improved.
Latin America’s response to Venezuelan emigration
Venezuelans are emigrating in record numbers, prompting Latin American countries to respond to the large scale of arrivals. Vanina Modolo and Ezequiel Texido of the IOM Regional Office for South America explain the extent and nature of Venezuelan emigration, and outline the measures countries have taken to receive Venezuelans.
TALKING MIGRATION DATA: What do we know about data on environmental migration?
Disaster displacement forces millions of people away from their homes every year. Many more move in the context of environmental changes. Estimating the number of people affected remains a challenge for the international community. Atle Solberg, Head of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, and Francois Gemenne, specialist of environmental geopolitics and migration dynamics, share their views on this topic.