Finalist for the region South-East

Stability within change – 
Approach to reduce climate-induced
internal migration

The Situation
The anthropogenic climate change presents countless challenges for us as a globalised society. With one of them being internal migration in
countries endangered by catastrophes of a climatic cause, the intellectual challenge for industrialised countries is the considerable responsibility to help. The aid to developing countries is a huge part of German foreign affairs. Within our research, we found a lot of ways to help countries that face climatic challenges, but never spotted anything that directed foreign help in these countries: To which regions should the development aid be distributed? Which sector needs help the most?

Our Solution
That’s why we created an index for this gap: The Climate Migration Risk Index.
The CMRI provides information on the necessity of help, directed region-wise, with a focus on three categories, by combining established indices and other factors:

1. sociopolitical factor:
The political-social pillar of the CMRI is formed with regards to corruption, the gap between the rich and the poor, the Human Development
Index etc.

2. economic factor:
The economic pillar of the CMRI consists of the GDP, governmental debt, trade relationships, infrastructure etc.

3. climatic factor:
The climatic pillar of the CMRI consists of the temperature changes of the region, the climate risk index, the aridity index etc.
The CMRI births a tool for the categorising of risks of climate migration. It is the first tool to imply political and economic data as a factor for risks, as
political and economic strength can help to tackle climatic challenges while political and economic weakness intensifies the risk.

Our Aim
The CMRI, as a tool that is easily understood, helps non-government organisations and governments to come to decisions regarding aid to regions
affected by climate change. It applies to various aspects regarding a highly complex topic and is applicable to every region of the world. It works as
a generalistic tool and therefore advances the fight against the symptoms of climate change by showing certain risk-areas.

Their YES! topic

Climate Migration – How Can Societies and Countries Prepare?

by Wolfgang Auer, Tanja Stitteneder and Yvonne Giesing, ifo Institute – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich

Our climate is changing around the globe, and it is happening more rapidly, visibly and alarmingly. The past five years were worldwide the hottest years since record-keeping began (Umweltbundesamt 2019) and weather patterns have been thrown off in many places around the world. Extreme weather conditions like droughts, flooding, windstorms as well as earthquakes and landslides are posing great threats to society, especially in countries of the global South. The resulting dramatic consequences are analyzed in the current ifo project SLICE ( which aims at understanding underlying mechanisms in order to build resilience against climate change-induced climate extremes.

Given these precarious circumstances, the World Bank (2018) predicts 140 Million and Greenpeace (2014) 200 Million “climate refugees” until 2050. A large proportion of climate refugees will migrate from the southern to the northern hemisphere, since living conditions in the northern hemisphere, for example in Europe, are less affected by global warming than countries on the southern hemisphere (The Economist 2018). Although precise forecasts are complex and specific numbers must be treated with caution, experts agree that climate change will pose a grave threat and require immediate global action.

Furthermore, climate migrants are unlikely to eventually return to their country of origin, since the consequences of climate change are not expected to improve. This is in stark contrast to conflict refugees (migrants leaving their home country due to war and danger of persecution) who often return home once the situation improves. This prospect makes it a necessity to integrate climate migrants successfully in the long term.

Successful integration is a multidimensional concept and both societies, as well as countries and their institutions, play a central role in facilitating it. While societies shape the culture and mindset of welcoming migrants, it is the responsibility of countries and their institutions to provide a stimulating legal framework for the integration of migrants.



  • How can societies prepare for the wave of climate migrants coming to Germany and Europe? What can we do as a society to make the expected scenario known and to raise awareness about climate migration? How can we establish a positive and optimistic “welcome culture” that successfully integrates migrants into our society and economy? How can we strengthen the European identity and help those affected, rather than drifting further into negative thinking and political extremes?
  • How can countries and their institutions prepare for the impending wave of climate migrants? How can the assignment of migrants across Europe be better managed? During the refugee crisis of 2015, the assignment of refugees to certain European countries caused many struggles. Since then, many proposals have been created – how do these differ from your ideas? What could a fair distribution system look like? What incentives must be created, such that the proposal is positively received by all EU countries as well as local societies? Evaluate existing frameworks and simplify them, to create an optimized bottom-up approach.