Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Climate Change
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Today, tens of millions of people move and are regularly displaced around the world through a combination of forces – environmental, societal, political, and security. Human movement and adaptation in response to ever changing catalysts has always been a salient feature of the global landscape.
Whether due to protracted conflict or political unrest, climate change or demographic shifts, human movement is often essential for communities to survive and thrive. Simultaneously, rapid urbanization has made cities home to 70 percent of the world’s population, resulting in a trend toward cities playing increasingly important roles on the world stage and being in the vanguard for global solutions.
At a moment when the world is seeing the greatest level of displacement since World War II, and the climate emergency grows more acute by the day, these complex and intersecting global phenomena – urbanization, migration, and climate change – demand sophisticated and coordinated action from researchers and policymakers working in concert.
The Global Shifts research theme examines these phenomena, highlights the specific challenges their intersections produce, and charts a path that allows for the best global policy responses to emerge.
Global Shifts Colloquium: Islands on the Climate Front Line: Risk and Resilience | April 20-21, 2022
This event investigated the climate crisis through the lens of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It asked what policymakers should learn from SIDS, which are among the countries most vulnerable to and affected by the worst impacts of global warming and are therefore at the leading edge of global mitigation and adaptation policymaking. The colloquium provided a platform where world leaders, academics, policymakers, and practitioners openly discussed the origins and future of climate vulnerability in small islands, as well as policies to build climate change resilience.
This workshop, jointly convened by Perry World House, Penn Institute for Urban Research, and the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, looked at gaps in climate adaptation finance for cities around the world, especially in low- and moderate-income countries. It brought together urban policy and finance leaders to find ways to spur investment in urban climate change adaptation measures.
Published by the Penn Institute for Urban Research and authored by Perry World House Faculty Fellow Eugenie L. Birch and Visiting Fellow Mauricio Rodas, this report synthesizes discussions at our joint workshop with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy on issues with global finance for urban climate adaptation, particularly in developing countries.
As the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference approached its conclusion in Glasgow, Scotland, Perry World House released a series of thought pieces from our June 2021 workshop, "Climate Change and Geopolitics." As the physical impacts of climate change grow more evident and more severe around the world, it is increasingly apparent that it will also transform international relations, international security, and geopolitics. On the one hand, experts in these fields lack clear principles to guide their thinking on climate change. On the other hand, those working in climate and energy policy also need to take greater account of great power competition.
This report looks back at our 2021 Global Shifts Colloquium, "Locked Down: Global Mobility and COVID-19." This event virtually convened academic and policy experts from across the world to examine strict border closures and other mobility restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The scholars and policy practitioners who attended our 2021 Global Shifts Colloquium produced a series of thought pieces exploring critical issues surrounding restrictions on human movement in the pandemic.
Do international political borders matter in the modern world, and, if so, in what ways? The Borders and Boundaries Project at Perry World House is researching how political life both affects and is affected by international borders and border security policies. This interdisciplinary, multi-method effort is directed by Professor Beth Simmons and is composed of research teams studying border politics across a variety of different research areas.
Over the course of the early twenty-first century, cities have increasingly moved into the international arena, taking on a growing role in global issues. Great power politics and urbanization are not separate phenomena. Peace, power, and prosperity in the twenty-first century will require urban expertise, as will solving global problems around climate change, migration, and equitable development. The Great Powers and Urbanization Project, or GPUP, is a collaboration of global leaders in international and urban affairs: the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House, the University of Melbourne’s Connected Cities Lab, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the Argentine Council for International Relations (Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales).