A mountainous landscape with scattered stone houses and colorful prayer flags fluttering like applause from the heavens. A blue-roofed building stands proudly in the foreground, beneath snow-capped peaks that seem to embody success against a cloudy sky backdrop.
A mountainous landscape with scattered stone houses and colorful prayer flags fluttering like applause from the heavens. A blue-roofed building stands proudly in the foreground, beneath snow-capped peaks that seem to embody success against a cloudy sky backdrop.

SUCCESS and CLAPS

Globally, migration has emerged as a critical adaptation strategy in the face of escalating climate change impacts. Yet, it remains neglected in most government planning and policy, resulting in fractured rural economies and haphazard urban development.

Key questions arise: How can communities evicted from their homes rebuild their lives? What challenges do women and girls face in the migration process? How can we ensure fair access to resources for migrants? What support systems are necessary for vulnerable populations unable to move? How do we guarantee their safety and well-being in their current locations?

These fundamental questions form the cornerstone of two interdisciplinary research initiatives at the School of Global Development, focused on ecologically vulnerable regions of South Asia—Successful Intervention Pathways for Migration as Adaptation (SUCCESS) and Climate Change Local Adaptation Pathways (CLAPS). The projects seek to advance our understanding of migration, mobility, and immobility as critical components of climate adaptation strategies, fostering evidence-based narratives and advocating for inclusive practices. Dr Mark Tebboth, the co-principal investigator on the projects, said: “In South Asia, migration is a vital strategy and behaviour adopted by millions of people. These projects provide crucial insights to enable us to better understand and advocate for interventions to support migration and adaptation.”

Collaboration stands at the heart of both projects, uniting leading researchers and field practitioners from diverse backgrounds and geographies. The SUCCESS project, which is funded for three years by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office and Canadian development assistance through their International Development Research Centre under their Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) programme, is being undertaken in partnership with the University of Exeter, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit in Bangladesh, and the Royal Thimphu College in Bhutan. Highlighting the core objectives of the project, Amina Maharjan from ICIMOD said: “While most interventions either ignore or aim to halt migration, we will be looking into integrating migration and its implications in them with the objective of reducing precarity, increasing adaptive capacity and building overall wellbeing of the immobile and migrant families and communities.”

Meanwhile, CLAPS, a year-long endeavour, has received funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office. The project has brought together research teams from the University of Exeter (UK) and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), along with civil society partners across India. Chandni Singh, senior researcher from IIHS said: “The present moment is animated by urbanisation and climate change. India sits at the cusp of these transitions, while it tries to address wider and unequal development deficits. I look forward to learning from our implementation partners who are testing solutions in urban and rural areas – this is critical if we are to think of climate-resilient futures.”

Both projects delve into the interlocking forces of gender and social differentiation to develop inclusive frameworks. Professor Nitya Rao, co-investigator on both projects, said: “I am really excited that we have an opportunity to develop a more nuanced analysis of experiences and outcomes, but also to explore how gender-sensitive interventions are, how far they address the needs of different groups of men and women.”

For more information and updates on the SUCCESS project, visit the project website.

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