Strengthening Land Rights Will Curb Migration
What the US faces on its southern border is not a security problem, but a humanitarian crisis, and punishing attempts at deterrence cannot resolve it. Enabling people to stay where they are requires, first and foremost, strengthening their right to be there.
SEATTLE – The world’s food supply is under threat. That was the stark warning contained in a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change and land. The signs are already ubiquitous. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are suffering hunger and malnutrition, in turn driving one of the largest mass migrations in recent memory. Enabling people to stay where they are requires, first and foremost, strengthening their right to be there.
Improving food security amid escalating climate change, the IPCC concludes, will require a land-use revolution. Among other things, farmers will need to implement agricultural practices – such as improved irrigation, terracing, and agroforestry – that improve climate resilience, conserve soil and trees, and boost production.
Yet millions of rural dwellers lack the stability or opportunities to invest in such a transformation, owing largely to insecure land rights. As climate change intensifies, their livelihoods thus are becoming increasingly unsustainable, and the food supply increasingly strained. Many rural families can barely survive, let alone escape poverty.