BC3. Basque centre for climate change – Klima aldaketa ikergai


DEltas, vulnerability and Climate Change; Migration as an Adaptation


With their large and often poor populations in low-lying areas, deltas have long been seen as highly vulnerable to climate change and non-climate drivers with, in the most extreme, large-scale displacement of people being the result. Migration is a complex process which is already occurring in all deltas, largely independent of climate change. Most research on deltas and migration tends to focus on individual system elements and issues rather than taking a systems-level perspective. This fails to consider the wider consequences of climate change and the interdependence between these phenomena and people’s behaviour. In contrast to previous research, this programme of research will take a systemic and multi-scale analytical perspective to understand gendered vulnerability and adaptation in deltas under a changing climate by analysing four contrasting populous delta systems in South Asia and Africa where there is significant potential for migration.

The dual research aims are:

  • to assess migration as an adaptation in deltaic environments with a changing climate
  • to deliver policy support to create the conditions for sustainable gender-sensitive adaptation.
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Start date: February 2014

End date: November 2018

Programme: Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA)

Partners in the DECCMA consortium

University of Southampton - Coordinator
BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change
University of Dundee
University of Exeter
International Water Management Institute
Met Office Hadley Centre
Plymouth Marine Labs
UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

Key people involved in BC3

Dr. Anil Markandya
Dr. Iñaki Arto
Dr. Mikel Gonzalez
Dr. Ignacio Cazcarro
Dr. Kishore Dhavala

Objectives and concepts

The dual research aims are:

  1. to assess migration as an adaptation in deltaic environments with a changing climate; and
  2. to deliver policy support to create the conditions for sustainable gender-sensitive adaptation.


The objectives are:

  1. to understand the governance mechanisms that promote or hinder migration of men and women in deltas;
  2. to identify climate change impact hotspots in deltas where vulnerability will grow and adaptation will be needed;
  3. to understand the conditions that promote migration and its outcomes, as well as gender-specific adaptation options for trapped populations, via surveys;
  4. to understand how climate-change-driven global and national macro-economic processes impact on migration of men and women in deltas;
  5. to produce an integrated systems-based bio-physical and socio-economic model to investigate potential future gendered migration under climate change;
  6. to conceptualise and evaluate migration within a wide suite of potential adaptation options at both the household and delta level;
  7. to identify feasible and desirable adaptation options and support implementation of stakeholderled gender-sensitive adaptation policy choices.


This knowledge will encourage appropriate gender-sensitive policy responses to ensure that the most vulnerable in deltas are able to adapt, and how adaptation policy effectiveness can be maximised. The analysis will guide sustainable and equitable development of deltas and will:

  1. identify gender-differentiated stakeholder-relevant scenarios of local/regional/delta level vulnerability to climate change;
  2. identify options for effective climate adaptation for men and women by the poorest groups in deltas; and
  3. lead to the development of gender-sensitive adaptation funding proposals in the four deltas



IDRC logo

This project is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


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