Water Shocks: Wetlands and Human Migration in the Sahel
Climate and disaster risks
This report calls attention to the worsening condition of wetlands in the Sahel and explains how this decline is undermining human well-being and compelling people to migrate, including to Europe. The rivers, lakes, floodplains and deltas of the Sahel are highly productive and biologically diverse ecosystems, fed by seasonal floods. These dynamic wetlands have long shaped human culture and been the basis for local and regional economies. Tens of millions of people still depend on their vitality. But these natural assets are degrading, often due to ill-advised economic development projects which divert water resources. Consequently, some wetlands have ceased to be a refuge in hard times and have instead become sources of out-migration, as people look elsewhere for alternative livelihoods.