Project News

Rural Communities and Migration: An Assessment of Migration Factors in the South Mediterranean

18 January 2023

The climate crisis is set to displace millions in the next decades. The Mediterranean region is particularly at risk, due to acute water scarcity, erratic rainfall patterns and rising sea levels. The World Bank estimates that 19 million people will be forced to move in the region as a result of climatic events and environmental degradation in the next decades. Predominantly, this mobility will occur internally, as rural communities progressively abandon agriculture to seek more stable means of subsistence in cities and coastal areas. These changes force communities left behind to grapple with scarce opportunities for non-farm livelihoods while putting further pressure on national food systems, already severely afflicted by the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Rural communities in North Africa and the Middle East are confronted to a myriad of context-specific challenges. While food security is rising on the global and regional agendas, countries are experiencing demographic decline in rural areas, important shortcomings in rural development and environmental degradation resulting from resource overexploitation and climate change. For concerned communities, the conjunction and intensification of these trends raise serious questions as to their ability to cope now and in the near future.

This study produced by the EUROMED Migration project sets out to shed light on the agriculture and migration nexus. Examining the social and economic context of rural communities and small-scale farming in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, the analysis points to the drivers and trajectories of migrants from rural areas and proposes policy solutions to mitigate the implications of rural exodus.

The results and recommendations arising from the study are meant to consolidate knowledge on migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region in line with the target 10.7 of the UN sustainable development goals to achieve safe, orderly and regular migration.