Conflict Over Migration Is a Manageable Problem, Says Expert

New ECSP Report Article Recommends Countries Pay Attention to Demographic, Migratory Patterns to Avoid Conflict

Mar 03, 2009

"The impact of migration on conflict is a man-made problem," says demographic expert Christian Leuprecht in his new article, "Migration as the Demographic Wild Card in Civil Conflict: Mauritius and Fiji." "The way migration is managed (or not) can determine its potential for mitigating or escalating a conflict."

Contrary to what many people might think, most migration is within the developing world—"among countries that already face enormous challenges in terms of provisions for their populations, but also ethnic conflict," says Christian Leuprecht in a short video preview now playing on ECSP's YouTube Channel.

"So if you have particular ethnic groups, religious groups, or linguistic groups then spilling over borders, there's a good chance they might destabilize the neighboring country; not just because of carrying capacity and provision of services within that country, but also because it changes the population dynamics and group dynamics within that particular country," he says.

In the 13th issue of the Environmental Change & Security Program Report, Leuprecht finds that "demographic trends in Mauritius have actually proven to be a source of political stability," but that "the converse holds true for Fiji." He recommends that all small-island developing states should pay attention to "demographic—and especially migratory—patterns that may prove particularly problematic for civil relations."

Leuprecht, an assistant professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, and six other demographic experts analyze the links connecting population and environmental dynamics to conflict in a set of commentaries on New Directions in Demographic Security.

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Experts & Staff

  • Roger-Mark De Souza // Director of Population, Environmental Security and Resilience, Wilson Center
  • Sandeep Bathala // Senior Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program, Maternal Health Initiative
  • Katharine Diamond // Program Assistant, Environmental Change and Security Program
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  • Sean Peoples // Multimedia Producer and Program Associate, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Geoffrey D. Dabelko // Senior Advisor, Environmental Change and Security Program
  • Ruth Greenspan Bell // Public Policy Scholar
  • William Krist // Senior Policy Scholar
  • Louise Lief // Public Policy Scholar
  • John W. Sewell // Senior Scholar