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November 27, 2019

Alarm raised about migration to cities

Islamabad

November 27, 2019

Islamabad :Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said the internal migration, especially from rural areas to urban settlements, was going to be one of the biggest problems of the country at all levels.

"Climate extreme events, such as floods and droughts, are putting pressure on water resources and crop production, which are pushing vulnerable rural communities to migrate," she told a seminar on 'climate change and migrations in South Asia', organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here at Islamabad.

Zartaj Gul She said that a large number of people have already started migrating from South Punjab, particularly from climate prone areas of D.I. Khan and Muzaffargarh, to nearby cities, which is putting pressure on urban resources.

“This uncontrolled migration from rural to urban areas is causing illegal urbanization,” she said adding the need for constant policy measures to cope and manage the challenge of migration.

Besides, Zartaj also highlighted the other factors, such as conflict and law and order situation in the erstwhile FATA region, which caused hundreds of thousands of people to migrate and become Internally Displaced Population (IDPs). She stressed that vulnerable rural communities and conflict-prone areas should be provided with facilities like urban settlements while taking care of their local norms, values and traditions.

Executive Director SDPI, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri said migration phenomenon cannot be attributed only to climate change, as there are several push and pull factors that force communities to migrate from one place to another.

“Migration is a historical as well as a global phenomenon, as people migrate due to lack of basic necessities of food, water, health and education facilities (push factors) and better opportunities of livelihoods at the destination, such as employment, availability of basic health and education facilities (pull factors). The push factors of migration, such as lack of food and water, mostly caused by the negative impacts of climate change. However, a thorough research study requires to map all factors responsible for migration," he said.

Dr Abid said SDPI study on migration shows that it the level of resilience of the household as well as the availability of alternative livelihood strategies that determine the decision of migration of a family. He said that there is a need to minimize the push factors migration through the provision of basic facilities and livelihood opportunities. Stressing the need for better management of migration, Dr. Abid called upon the government to have a comprehensive national migration policy.

Raana Rahim, Country Director, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) said that in this globalized world migration is expecting to increase rather than decrease. She said migration phenomenon, particularly climate-induced movements, need to be understood clearly by all stakeholders, which can help formulate better policies to manage migration across the region. She stressed the need for more evidence-based research on climate induced migration for informed decision making. Kashif Majeed Salik, Associate Research Fellow, SDPI said that migration can be looked as an opportunity in terms of economy for the origin country, such as remittances, employment and wellbeing, whereas it can also be looked as burden to the economy of the destination country, such as unemployment and urban poverty. Also, migration in some cases considered as a threat to the society in terms of security, religious cohesion, social and cultural integration. He said there is little evidence available that climate change is directly responsible for the migration of the people. However, the impact of climate events has a large impact on the agriculture sector that may indirectly affect agricultural income, on which significant populations depend. Kashif highlighted that migration movements critically strengthen the resilience of migrant families in terms of income, food, education, etc. in Pakistan.

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