Climate change influencing migration in north-west - Research
The impact of climate change has been found to be one of the causes of migration in rural communities in the north-western part of the country.
This is because the impact of climate change has aggravated the effects on the rural labour force and on the social structure at the rural communities, resulting in food insecurity which causes the migration. This also affects changes in gender roles.
These were made known at a workshop to disseminate and validate the findings of a research on Resilience Against Climate Change — Social Transformation Research and Policy Advocacy Project (REACH-STR) last Monday.
The research on the REACH-STR was conducted in the Upper West and Savannah regions.
Researchers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Science Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) gathered data on the implications of climate change, migration and gender roles as well as their consequences on social transformation last year.
The project, funded by the European Union, was aimed at building synergies among local authorities, policy-makers, planners and researchers to share strategies and ideas for sustainable and inclusive development, climate change adaptation and mitigation practices.
Interviews were conducted in seven selected districts in the two regions namely, Sawla/Tuna/Kalba, Daffiama/Bussie/Issa (DBI), Lambussie, Nandom, Sissala, Wa-East and Wa West. Participants at the workshop included District Planning Officers, District Coordinating Directors, officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO). The rest were officials of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) traditional authorities and civil society.
An official of the CSIR-STEPRI, Dr Portia Adade Williams, said the core strategies of climate change, migration and gender roles that greatly influenced migration from the rural to urban areas had been analysed from a social transformation perspective.
Dr Williams said for many rural migrants, migration was a desperate act of survival because there was a symbiotic relationship between the migrants and the rural people.
On gender role changes, she noted that some women tended to take on more male reserved activities and this had enhanced female empowerment, whilst another impact was the funds in remittances and technologies that flew into the rural economy.
Dr Williams noted that it could be seen as an investment to facilitate rural development and economic growth.
“The focus of various policies and programmes show linkages between climate change, migration and gender in development planning and policy formulation but not from a social transformation perspective,” she said.
She, therefore, urged policy makers and development planners to consider social transformation issues at all governance levels. She said, the findings were from interviewing 177 respondents on issues of climate change, migration and gender policies.
Policy implications, recommendations
She said to mitigate the effect of climate change there was the need to build the capacity of policy makers and planners in population growth and urbanisation.
This, she said, called for the building up of capacities and properly resourcing development planners at the district/municipal and metropolitan levels.
“Social dimension objectives of Ghana’s development plans and policies should reflect social transformation issues such as changes in demographic characteristics, culture and gender roles. “There is the urgent need for institutional strengthening to involve local institutions, faith-based and traditional authorities for effective coordination at all levels of policy-making,” she said.
A former Deputy Director of CSIR-STEPRI, Godfred Frempong, said the entity had come back to share the findings, insights and seek their comments, views and critiques in order to fine tune them to reflect the actual situation in the regions.
“You are to validate findings from participatory research on the gaps that exist in social transformation related issues of climate change, migration and gender and strengthen understanding on climate change resilience in a gender-responsive manner,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the participants to coordinate their efforts in bringing about the efficient structural changes to mitigate the environmental changes that confronted their areas.