The Migration and Conservation Toolkit was developed to help conservation practitioners assess the impacts of human migration on critical ecosystems. It draws on extensive research in three critical ecosystems in the Great Lakes region of Africa with generous funding from the MacArthur Foundation.
Integrating existing and potential migration concerns into conservation interventions is increasingly important in many parts of the world. The research supporting the development of this toolkit was carried out in three critical ecosystems found in the Great Lakes region of Africa.
This region is already experiencing myriad forms of natural resource and climate stress, and the growing socio-environmental impacts of migration could exacerbate or reinforce existing social tensions and institutional failures, further threatening the critical ecosystems and the livelihoods they support. Policy-makers and practitioners are not fully aware of these threats, nor are they fully prepared to manage them through appropriate interventions. It is hoped that the approach outlined in this toolkit can help to address these challenges—in the Great Lakes region and beyond—before they overwhelm ecosystems and undermine natural resource-based livelihoods.
The Migration and Conservation Toolkit aims to help conservation practitioners design and implement activities that are sensitive to the dynamics and impacts of existing and potential human migration on livelihoods and natural resource use, and that address the consequent impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity in host communities. It does so by helping conservationists:
- Undertake a participatory analysis process that engages all stakeholders and results in concrete responses to identified issues.
- Understand the context in terms of migration, conservation, and the links between the two.
- Identify interventions that address the conservation issues that are created or exacerbated by human migration.
- Integrate migration-sensitive conservation interventions into existing project management systems.
The toolkit is intended as a roadmap to guide users toward a better understanding of migration dynamics and impacts, an understanding they can then use to better protect ecosystems. It is not intended as a prescriptive process; users can choose to adopt those methods and tools deemed most appropriate and relevant to their work and context, but do not need to follow the process to the letter to ensure success. It is hoped that by adopting this approach conservationists can strengthen their capacities to respond to migration pressures and find solutions that support migrants, the local population, and biodiversity.