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Land is the central component upon which the livelihoods of humanity rely. Our food, energy, and employments are associated with, and dependent on, its quality and well-being.

There is a risk that desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) disproportionally contribute to increased poverty, unemployment and inequality; and lead to the forced migration of those already most marginalized and vulnerable. Decisive action is therefore required to protect and restore vital land resources.

In addition, how environmental and migration policies are developed and enacted today will greatly influence the impacts of DLDD on migration tomorrow.

The first part of the report provides a review of existing evidence on the complex interrelationships between migration and DLDD. The review shows the complexities that underpin population movements in the context of DLDD, by highlighting that the specific impacts of DLDD on migration depend not only on people’s geographical exposure to risk, but crucially also on their pre-existing vulnerabilities.

Within local populations impacted by the same environmental threats, vulnerability and likelihood to migrate are determined by a combination of factors, including socio-economic status, demographic characteristics (notably age and gender) and the migration, environmental, and resource management policies in place.

Most population movements in the context of DLDD are short-distance and internal; however there is also evidence that international migration in search of employment can amplify at times of drought, especially in places with strong migration networks or traditions.

Although migration has always been a vital strategy to cope with DLDD, migration, in its forced forms, can also contribute to further socio-economic and environmental vulnerabilities. In this context, it is important to avert and minimize forced migration through interventions that address its drivers, including DLDD.

Considering that migration is often motivated by the search for better employment opportunities, making sustainable land management (SLM) and ecosystem restoration compatible with the creation of dignified and attractive employment opportunities will be absolutely key to successfully avert and minimize forced migration connected to DLDD.

The second part of the report compiles evidence from around the world on good practices and lessons learned to combat DLDD as a driver of migration; and enhance migration’s adaptive potential to DLDD. This section draws on a call for contributions launched by the UNCCD alongside a review of existing published evidence. The review of good practices shows that sustainable land management and land rehabilitation strategies that can avert and minimize forced migration take many varied forms depending on the local context.