University of Oulu

Walelign, S. Z., Cutter, S. L., & Lujala, P. (2021). Resettlement capacity assessments for climate induced displacements: Evidence from Ethiopia. Climate Risk Management, 33, 100347.

Resettlement capacity assessments for climate induced displacements : evidence from Ethiopia

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Author: Walelign, Solomon Zena1,2,3,4; Cutter, Susan L.2; Lujala, Päivi5,6
Organizations: 1Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
2Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA
3Center for Effective Global Action, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, USA
4School of Economics, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
5Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Christian Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-08-20


Climate change migration is increasing and necessitates a re-examination of resettlement planning and processes. Although evidence-based selection of host places would improve climate change resettlement outcomes, few methods for the selection of host communities exist. Consequently, the information base on which most resettlement programs select a host place is often inadequate. This article proposes an empirical methodology to assess resettlement capacity. The methodology uses a hierarchical aggregation approach, where resettlement capacity indicator values are aggregated first into sub-dimension resettlement capacity scores, then further into dimension resettlement capacity scores, and finally into an overall resettlement capacity index. The aggregation allows for the calculation of the relative importance of the different sub-dimensions and the two primary dimensions — assets and conditions. Using 75 indicators and a hierarchical min–max additive approach based on a five-kilometer grid, we create an overall resettlement capacity index for Ethiopia, with and without normalizing the relevant indicators for population size. The results show significant spatial variation in resettlement capacity, and a clear difference between using the population size normalized and non-normalized indicators, particularly regarding places with very low population density. High resettlement capacity sites are scattered in central, southcentral, and northern Ethiopia, and they also occur in small clusters along southern and northwestern borders. Moderate resettlement capacity sites occur more generally all over Ethiopia. Sites with low resettlement capacity cluster in southeastern and western parts of the country. Compared to the low and moderate resettlement capacity sites, those with high resettlement capacity are endowed with human, physical, and financial capital infrastructures. In all three capacity groups, assets contribute significantly less to resettlement capacity than conditions. Sites that are prone to natural hazards, both currently and in the future, are concentrated in the western and northern tips of the country. The calculated resettlement capacity indices are robust to potential missing indicators and change in the unit of analysis. The findings of the study can be used to identify areas for more comprehensive, localized analyses to determine their suitability for resettlement.

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Series: Climate risk management
ISSN: 2212-0963
ISSN-E: 2212-0963
ISSN-L: 2212-0963
Volume: 33
Article number: 100347
DOI: 10.1016/j.crm.2021.100347
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Funding: The research was funded by the Research Council of Norway (grant no. 274702).
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (