Thriving on climate vulnerabilities: Urbanisation, informal work & precarious migrant life in cities

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Every year, many poor people from climate-affected rural areas leave their homes and migrate to cities.
For a large proportion of these internal migrants, climate-induced rural-urban migration offers new livelihood opportunities by enabling them to escape climate vulnerabilities and adapt to climate change-related hardships. Therefore climate-induced migration to cities has been crucially associated with the growth of informal sector employment in urban areas in Asia and Africa throughout the last few decades. Following an individualised recruitment process, many migrant labourers arriving in cities get informal jobs that do not require formal training or professional skills. Despite the lack of labour protection and employment benefits, these informal jobs in cities help them earn better, making rural-urban migration the most important reason for the rapid growth of the urban population and increasing urbanisation rate in Asia and Africa. However, policy responses to the daily life struggles of rural-urban migrant workers in cities have been traditionally inadequate and, in some cases, very negative as the urban authorities often perceive the migrants as “trouble makers” and therefore deny offering them basic public services and facilities. Due to the predominant negligence in urban policy and planning, the needs of these poor migrants are often overlooked, and thus they live a precarious life marked by poor working and living conditions in cities. In this context, new policy approaches with context-specific focus are needed to examine the complexities of the nexus among climate change, rural-urban migration, urbanisation and precarious employment in cities. The proposed panel aims to bring in novel research findings and contemporary intellectual work related to policy impacts on the risks, opportunities, and lived experiences of climate-induced rural-urban migrants in cities.

The panel invites papers that discuss internal migration, i.e., rural-urban migration within the broader context of climate change vulnerabilities. More specifically, it invites papers on internal migration, unemployment in rural areas, urbanisation, informal work in cities, working and living conditions of migrants in cities, precarious work for internal migrants, labour protection, policy and planning issues related to internal migration etc.

More specifically, papers are invited to discuss some of the following questions:
a) How does internal migration make rural people resilient to income uncertainties due to climate-related vulnerabilities?
b) What are the recruitment practices that internal migrants go through to find informal work in cities?
c) What are the working and living conditions of internal migrants?
d) What factors contribute to the precariousness of internal migrant workers in cities?
e) What is the policy response to the daily life struggles of internal migrants?

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