12 Aug International migration in the Mashriq countries: past trends, future potentials and determinants – possible implications for environmental migration?
International migration in the Mashriq countries: past trends, future potentials and determinants – possible implications for environmental migration?
Government Office for Science UK
Geographically located at the crossroads of three ancient continents – Africa, Asia and Europe – the Mashriq countries have been home to various types of dynamic migratory movements for centuries. The last 100 years in the history of this region are no exception to this phenomenon. Although these countries are home to only 1% of the global population as of 2010, their populations have been subject to various types of internal and international movements, which have implications not only for their close neighbours in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, but also for other parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Generally speaking, the Mashriq countries, which include the Arabic-speaking countries to the east of Egypt and north of the Arabian Peninsula – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria – have their own unique migratory system, which is distinct from systems in neighbouring regions. Although the Mashriq has its own internal diversity, its migratory system is characterised by certain general features: rapid and extensive rural–urban migration, long-established and ongoing cross-border and internal displacements due to war and conflicts, and extensive emigration to neighbouring oil-rich countries and over longer distances to places such as Europe, North America and Australia. The region’s geographical and natural characteristics, including its own natural environment and climate, along with changes that have occurred in these fields, have also often contributed to this migratory system. For their part, various migratory movements in the region have themselves also caused changes in the region’s wider geographical and environmental settings.
Since the end of the Second World War and the establishment of Israel, and continuing until the recent Arab Spring, the Mashriq region has been confronting various economic, political, social, cultural and demographic challenges. Most of these challenges are somehow associated with migratory flows, both as causes of and as consequences for the challenges the countries face. These challenges often trigger a vicious cycle of poverty, migration, conflict and ecological degradation, which causes further migration and conflicts. While such economically induced migratory movements and politically caused mass population displacements in the region are well known, there is a lack of empirical research on their impacts, often resulting from a lack of adequate data. This review is an effort to underline the importance of such research and aims to (a) briefly examine the recent history and current position of migration flows from and to the Mashriq region, in terms of their trends, patterns, types, volumes and compositions; (b) relate these flows to the international migratory regimes of neighbouring regions and other parts of the world; (c) elaborate upon related migration policies and practices at state levels; and (d) explore potential migration pressures, including adaptation to environmental change in the Mashriq states, as well as potential migratory movements resulting from environmental changes in the future.
Ahmet, I., & Deniz, S. (2011). International migration in the Mashriq countries: past trends, future potentials and determinants – possible implications for environmental migration? (Migration and Global Environmental Change). London: Government Office for Science UK.