Over the past decades, drivers for global migration have shifted from the known conventional economic drivers to the now significant yet mundane multi-faceted set of factors influenced by climate variability. Despite passing a number of policies and regulations, several West African governments, through support from development partners and the growing scientific community are yet to come to terms with the climate-environment- migration nexus on one hand, and practically sustainable approaches to curb the situation on the other. This interest led to the birth of MIGRAWARE, a BMBF (German Ministry of Education) and WASCAL funded project aimed at developing an integrated scientific/technological framework to explore drivers, processes and sustainable responses of rural-urban and cross-border migration in West Africa. The project will be implemented in Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina through the collaborative effort of over twenty renounced scientists drawn from Hen Mpoano, FUT-MINNA (Nigeria), University of Cape Coast (Ghana), University of Nazi Boni (Burkina Faso), University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), University of Wurzburg (Germany), German Aerospace Centre (DRL), PiSolutions (Germany) and CoKnow (Germany). MIGRAWARE addresses manifold drivers of migration such as land use / land cover changes, climate change and climate variability and will mobilize key local actors against risks and vulnerability to climate extremes as major intensification factors for migration across the sub-region. The project employs recent technological advancement in remote sensing, geographic information systems, big data analyses/modelling and citizen science approaches could provide the building blocks towards developing an overarching framework to support national government in adopting sustainable agriculture/climate smart landscapes as opportunities to reduce migration pressures within the sub-region.
The project will among things produce a state-of-the-art library-based open-source software (MIGRAWARE) for analyzing migration trends and drivers across scales to improve the basis for science-services delivery. This open-source software will be delivered to scientist at WASCAL to facilitate continues research and development on the topic and to progressively monitor, model and explore future migration trends as basis for governance recommendations. A hub for training future decision makers and knowledge holders for climate-migration interactions will be located at WASCAL CCHH FUT Minna in Nigeria. This hub will run teaching and training modules jointly developed from skills, knowledge, data, results and outcomes of the project particularly on assessing and managing the impacts of climate and global change on rural-urban and cross-boundary migration. Additionally, through joint collaboration, the team will co-develop policy/governance instruments that reveals the typical pathways and hotspot of migration to include the movement of people from poor hinterlands to urban conglomeration and human-environmental interaction as basis for government to prioritize interventions across local, national and intergovernmental (cross-boundary) levels.
To implement the research outputs and outcomes, FUT Minna will be the hub to co-develop and design a curriculum to focus on how migration-climate interactions can be considered with modular elements transferred across GRP sites and to teaching across other German universities while utilizing these innovative tools and skills. Capacity building is a critical component of the project and will occur throughout the research process. Furthermore, series of stakeholder workshops, focus group meetings and complementarily open space meetings will be implemented as a means act to build a framework of engagement and information exchange. The workshops will have representation from stakeholder and actors across governments, the professional and commercial sectors, practitioners, community representation, local experts and civil society as well as academics and experts.
In sum, MIGRAWARE will deliver a library- based open-source software solutions and products to strengthen the capacities of WASCAL and members of ECOWAS to process existing data, analyze governance instruments and their impacts and recommend improved strategies for managing drivers and trends for climate-induced migration.