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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

CONMIG: Geographies of Conflict-Induced Migration

Alternative title: Konfliktmigrasjonens Geografi

Awarded: NOK 7.8 mill.

Project Number:

302876

Project Period:

2020 - 2023

Location:

Partner countries:

Why do some conflicts trigger large-scale migration while others do not? And where do people flee when conflict breaks out? Conflict migration is one of the most critical global challenges of our time. Research on the topic has not been able to explain the variation in the extent of conflict migration, except to establish that conflict is an essential factor. The CONMIG project uses a wide range of methods to understand how different types of violence and intensities affect migration, and at the same time, study where, locally, migrants go for protection. The project brings together researchers from both conflict and migration studies to explore three important limitations of the literature, strongly dominated by aggregated country-level studies. First, CONMIG will introduce a local research approach by linking local event data on conflict types and intensity with new data on local migration patterns for Africa between 2000 and 2015. Second, while conflict often is treated as a binary either-or phenomenon, the project will distinguish between the effect of different types of conflict and intensities on migration, such as by differentiating between violence between government and a rebel group; between two rebel groups; and violence where civilians are attacked. Third, research that attempts to explain conflict migration has not been adequately able to capture the opportunities of where one can escape, or whether such opportunities exist at all. CONMIG will use local data, surveys, and interviews to analyze the characteristics of places where people seek refuge. Qualitative mapping will examine individuals' reflections on factors that have influenced their decision to migrate, as well as where to migrate. Our findings will provide better knowledge of how conflict causes forced migration, as well as where people flee. This will help improve research-based interventions, as well as develop early warning systems that can identify vulnerable populations and areas.

Why do some conflicts trigger migration, while others do not? Conflict-induced migration is one of the most pressing global issues of our time. However, existing literature has been largely unable to explain this phenomenon. CONMIG employs mixed-methods to understand how different forms of violence and levels of intensity affect forced migration, and where individuals are likely to flee to. Hosted at PRIO, it brings together talented scholars within both conflict and migration studies. CONMIG addresses three fundamental shortcomings in the literature, which is heavily dominated by aggregated country-level studies. First, CONMIG will introduce a sub-national research approach, by linking disaggregated data on conflict types and intensity with novel data on sub-national migration patterns for Africa between 2000 and 2015. Second, rather than ignoring the heterogeneous nature of conflict, which is often conflated to a binary phenomenon, the CONMIG project will measure the local impact of different forms and intensities of violence on displacement, separating between state-based violence (between government and a rebel group); non-state violence (between two rebel groups); and one-sided violence, where civilians are attacked by either a government or a rebel group. Third, research attempting to explain conflict-induced migration has largely failed to capture the available opportunities of where to flee, or whether such opportunities exist at all. CONMIG will use sub-national data and qualitative interviews to analyse the characteristics of locations where people seek refuge. Qualitative mapping will be used to trigger retrospective reflections on push and pull factors for individuals' decision to migrate. Our findings will provide improved knowledge about how conflict causes forced displacement and where people flee to. This will help facilitate research-based interventions to develop early-warning systems that identify populations and areas at risk.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam