External Publications

Nov 27, 2023

Bridging the Science–Policy Gap in the Climate Migration Field

COP27 press conference

While the scientific understanding of climate migration is advancing, major gaps prevail in addressing the related humanitarian and socio-economic challenges. Drawing from recent research, this Policy Brief discusses key challenges and presents recommendations for enhancing the science-policy interface to more effectively tackle the complexities of climate-related movements of people. The outlined suggestions aim to foster inclusive representation, improve the accuracy of assessments, leverage public data sources, and broaden the scope of research and policy initiatives



The question of how climatic changes and hazards affect human mobility has increasingly gained prominence in public debates over the past decade. Despite improvements in the scientific understanding of the subject and advancements in policy, major gaps remain in addressing the humanitarian and socio-economic challenges related to climate migration. In this perspectives article, we argue for a holistic approach and a closer integration of science and policy involving diverse stakeholders in the process of knowledge generation and implementation. We identify five key challenges characteristic for improving the science–policy interface: (i) conflictual political contexts and the securitization of human migration, (ii) simplistic narratives and framing of the subject, (iii) the uneven production and dissemination of knowledge, (iv) limited data and analytical capacities and (v) a selective topical and methodological focus. To address these diverse challenges, there is a need for more bridging initiatives at the science–policy interface that integrate diverse disciplines, approaches and stakeholders. A closer engagement of researchers and policymakers in the form of multi-stakeholder exchanges, capacity-building activities, co-development and co-implementation processes and integrative scientific assessments can help bridge the gap to support the inclusive generation of knowledge and the development of comprehensive policies.

You can read the full paper here.


Kira Vinke is the Head of the Center for Climate and Foreign Policy at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).
Roman Hoffmann leads the “Migration and Sustainable Development Research Group” at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
Barbora Šedová leads the FutureLab “Security, Ethnic Conflicts, and Migration” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Bibliographic data

This Policy Brief is an abridged version of a contribution to the KNOMAD-sponsored Special Issue in the Journal International Migration titled “Environmental (Im)mobilities: Improving the Evidence Base for Effective Policy Making”. The original contribution can be found here.

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