A Stanford University study from the Hoover institution underlines some startling facts about migration in the past and more importantly for the future*. Migrants have fled poverty and conflicts and are slated to continue to do so. The point which we can all anticipate is that not only is it a situation that has greatly affected the politics of both Europe and the US it is also one that will not change and possibly worsen.
Whether it is in Syria, Guatemala or Honduras, climate change driven drought set up a series of events. They led to poverty, to social uprisings and political upheavals, to migration which in turn led to border crises, unrest and issues such as those we are seeing at the southern border. Besides climate change and its way of creating or worsening events, a population explosion is foreseen in several parts of the world, stressing water shortages and urban resources. When added to a growing proportion of young people who can’t either have an education or find work the result is seen to be more migration, more people escaping poverty, more political unrest. And the conflicts that are foreseen are not only within the countries that are and will be affected but also among several countries as we see now between Mexico and the US.
The authors of the report emphasize that this scenario is not inevitable if both rich and poor countries practice good governance. If the countries involved invest in education and job creation and if the rich countries facilitate a more prosperous future for them, people will want to stay home instead of becoming migrants.
The point that is made, one that to me is crucial, is the report’s recommendation that it is in the interest of rich countries to help poorer ones to avoid all these consequences. Because then both sides will benefit.
*From the May 17th issue of Signal, the newsletter of GZERO Media