Climate change and migration are emerging on the research agenda worldwide. In particular, the discourse around environmentally induced migration is gaining increasing attention and is reflected in numerous research contexts. However, these endeavors are constantly accompanied by substantial discussion on concepts and approaches. Since both climate change and migration pose relatively vague research foci, it is essential to raise awareness of conceptual and methodological challenges.
From the 8th – 12th of July, 2013 UNU-EHS with the support of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) hosted the first Training School, “Field Research Methods (Qualitative and Quantitative) in Environmentally Induced Migration”. The Training School convened 11 Ph.D. and Masters students from nine different countries representing three continents. The team of trainers was comprised of 10 international experts in Environmentally Induced Migration from UNU-EHS, University of Bonn, University of Munich, German Development Institute and the Center for Development research (ZEF).
The Training School moves beyond classic university classroom learning and focuses on practical skills required for advanced research and its application to science at an international level. Trainees engaged in numerous interactive exercises, such as a role play of a Participatory Research Appraisal (PRA) session. The unique opportunity to benefit from a wide range of engaging theoretical and practical exercises allowed participants to interactively gain a deeper understanding of the scope of application, advantages and challenges of research within the field of climate change and migration. Exercises stimulated dynamic discussions about academic and practical aspects of applying research methods, allowing participants to share their previous experiences and ideas as well as to receive detailed feedback from the experts. The Training School also provided support for the trainees in their individual research plans and refined their skills in presenting their research.
The Training School started with a critical introduction to climate change and migration research, touching upon conceptual challenges and problems of definition, describing some research pathways and offering an overview of the current state of research, knowledge gaps and the legal aspects of environmentally induced migration. Further, the Training School participants gained knowledge and experience on empirical research techniques such as PRA,qualitative research methods such as interviews or perceptions research and a more quantitative (household) survey instrument.
For more information on the training school please see the programme syllabus.
“Applying qualitative methods in the migration and environmental fields is interesting but challenging. As far as I know,migration and environment tend to be an object of quantitative research which can be measured or testified. When using qualitative research, however, we will find a completely different picture of migration in relation with environment which becomes subjective realities sourced from daily experiences of the individuals/ families/specific communities.” – Basilica Dyah Putranti
“I am not the only one struggling with my research methods.But I feel it is getting clearer as I am receiving new tools. I am glad that bythe end of the week I will certainly see more clearly my methods.” – Dalila Gharbaou
“I was amazed by the people are actually doing field workand are not scared of it. I realized how many criteria you have to take into account if you want to do it! But also how exciting and inspiring it is!” – Mariya Gromilova
“I really like what I learned from other experiences and difficulties. I really liked the fact that the training is interactive.” – Dalila Gharbaoui
UNU-EHS has been doing research on climate risks, resilience, adaptation and human mobility since its establishment by the UNU in 2004. The UNU-EHS team has gained cumulative knowledge in this field throughout that period, so that a considerable number of its researchers have become experts in the topic and are invited to participate in international conferences and scientific workshops to share their knowledge as well as lectures and seminars to benefit young interested researchers. UNU-EHS strives to continuously innovate methods and data, foster the next generation of leaders and help shape policy alternatives. Moreover, in the policy arena, since UNU-EHS has become well known in the topic of environmental migration, Dr.Koko Warner was nominated as the focal point for the UNU in the Climate Talks and Conferences of Parties of the UNFCCC.
UNU-EHS is a recognized center for excellence dedicated to researching climate risk – societal dynamics,risk management behaviors and creating an evidence base that will help guide policy interventions to improve resilience to these climate risks.
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The EU COST Action programme IS 1101 on “Climate change and migration: knowledge, law and policy, and theory” aims to build a broad body of social science research concerning climate change and migration. The Action involves social scientists from a wide range of disciplines, including geography, political science, environmental history, law, and legal and policy studies. The Action provides funding for workshops, short-term scientific missions (knowledge exchanges) and training schools.
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At the first UNU-EHS Training School expertise in the environmentally induced migration was shared by:
The Training School was organized and facilitated by Dr. Christina Rademacher-Schulz, Madlen Hornung, Kristine Belesova, Yvonne Su, and Vilma Hossini.