Climate crisis and local communities

Due out June 2020

Deadline for submission of articles: 17th February 2020

(see important submission guidance below the call for articles)

There is an urgent need and growing demand for action to respond to the displacement-related impacts of climate change. The FMR team has published two issues related to this topic, in 2008 (Climate change and displacement) and 2015 (Disasters and displacement in a changing climate). We are now planning two complementary feature themes on the climate crisis and displacement.

This first one, on ‘Climate crisis and local communities’, will focus on grassroots action by affected communities in prevention, protection, adaptation, mitigation, resilience, preparedness, response, governance and decision-making, campaigning and advocacy. Many countries and communities have been coping with the effects of a changing climate for decades, effects that are felt to different degrees and in different ways for political as well as environmental reasons. Affected communities have insights and experience to share, which in turn touch on broader questions of climate justice, access, empowerment and rights. This feature theme will explore how their learning can inform and support other affected communities and the international community in their approaches, policies and actions.

We are looking for concise, pertinent, practice-oriented, challenging articles that present analysis, lessons and good practice with wide relevance. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for submissions (from affected communities, advocates, practitioners, policymakers, researchers and climate specialists) that reflect a diverse range of experience and opinions and that address questions such as the following:

In the community

  • What are the tipping points that trigger the decision to move by local communities – or by individual members of local communities – affected by climate change and facing displacement? In what ways are such decisions reached?
  • Where local communities have been displaced in the context of climate change, how are they responding? How do they recover, rebuild, adapt?
  • When communities decide to relocate, or when their governments decide to relocate populations, what elements have been found to be important to ensure successful planned relocation? What lessons can be drawn from examples of planned relocation (both successful and unsuccessful), either in response to longer-term slow-onset processes such as sea level rise or drought or in response to sudden-onset disasters?
  • How do communities at risk and affected communities work to prevent and reduce the impacts of climate change?
  • How do local communities’ social and governance structures affect their responses to climate change and displacement?
  • How do culture and faith influence communities’ responses to the impacts of climate change, including the decision to move or remain? And what lessons can be drawn from this? 
  • Can resilience be constructed, or can it only develop more organically over time? What is key to facilitating resilience? What role do risk assessments, preparedness and risk reduction measures, and early warning systems play in strengthening resilience, especially in a context where communities increasingly have to cope with more frequent and more intense sudden-onset events, often alongside slow-onset processes?


Interaction between communities

  • How can local-to-local knowledge exchange take place?
  • How are local communities addressing competition over depleted natural resources? What strategies do affected local communities use to reduce tensions in displacement and/or in contexts of increased scarcity of resources?
  • What do communities – including those at risk of displacement, those that have experienced displacement and those that have managed to avoid displacement – have to teach communities which are only now starting to confront these issues?


Beyond local communities

  • How can affected communities effectively communicate their experiences and knowledge to inform agencies, donors, local and national authorities, individuals and other communities in their thinking around climate-related response and programming?
  • What is the role of community advocacy (including in driving national and international responses to climate change), and what can be learned from the various approaches and successes?
  • Are local communities’ varied experiences and perceptions of climate change impacts adequately reflected in climate modelling? How can locally generated knowledge and wider scientific analysis be pooled and used?
  • What access to national and international mechanisms do local communities have in order to obtain assistance in addressing the challenges they face, and how can the role of these mechanisms be strengthened?


Intersection of vulnerabilities and contexts

  • How do gender norms and power relations influence women’s and men’s exposure to, and capacity to respond to, the effects of climate change and climate change-related displacement? In what ways can local action and programming respond to such differences?
  • How do local and global questions of climate justice, access, empowerment and access influence policy and programming at the local level? What can be learned from how local communities are addressing these questions?
  • The impacts of climate change are felt in both urban and rural communities. What can be learned from impacts and responses in these differing contexts?
  • How do different contexts affect communities’ ability to organise, advocate and campaign?



Please do not propose articles on climate change-related aspects that fall outside the scope of the above questions. There will be a follow-up FMR issue on ‘climate crisis and global response’ in June 2021 – look out for that call for articles in late 2020. Please also avoid an overly descriptive approach in your article – set the context but focus on the analysis, lessons, voices, recommendations, etc.

BEFORE WRITING YOUR ARTICLE: If you are interested in contributing, please email the Editors at with a few sentences about your proposed topic so that we can provide feedback and let you know if we are interested in receiving your submission.  

WHEN WRITING/SUBMITTING YOUR ARTICLE: Please read our guidelines for authors and ensure your article, when submitted, complies with our submission checklist: do not accept articles that do not comply with our checklist.

We ask all authors to give appropriate consideration to the particular relevance of their responses to persons with disabilities, to LGBTIQ+ persons, to older persons, and to other groups with specific vulnerabilities, and to seek to include a gendered approach as part of their articles. And we are particularly keen to reflect the experiences and knowledge of communities and individuals directly affected by these questions.

While we are looking for examples of good, replicable practice and experience as well as sound analysis of the issues at stake, we also urge writers to discuss failures and difficulties: what does/did not work so well, and why?

Maximum length: 2,500 words.

Please note that space is always at a premium in FMR and that published articles are usually shorter than this maximum length. Your article, if accepted for publication, may well be shortened but you will of course be consulted about any editing changes.

Deadline for submission of articles: Monday 17th February 2020

NOTE: This feature theme will be shorter than a full FMR feature as it will sit alongside a second feature theme on ‘Trafficking and smuggling’.

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Forced Migration Review
Refugee Studies Centre
Oxford Department of International Development
University of Oxford
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