The University of Liège launched a new research hub in November, dedicated specifically to the study of environmental change and migration. The new Hugo Observatory is named after Graeme Hugo (1946-2015), a leading migration scholar who had pioneered the study of the links between environment and migration.
The work of the Observatory will focus on key emerging issues around environmental migration such as immobility and trapped population, climate-induced relocation and land governance in the Pacific region, displacement from man-made disasters, displacement impacts of land grabbing, issues around land tenure, and effects of slow-onset changes.
The Observatory was launched on the 3rd of November at the first Hugo Conference, which took place in Liège on 3-5 November. The Conference, organized ahead of the COP22 in Marrakech, brought together around 250 scholars and practitioners from social and environmental sciences, who addressed a large variety of topics such as security and conflict, disaster displacement, climate change adaptation, legal and policy perspectives, risk perception, resettlement, land grabbing, and regional and national case studies. Key findings from the innovative MECLEP project were presented in a dedicated panel as part of the conference.
The event featured a keynote speech given by Nicolas Hulot, famous environmental reporter and writer, and Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet from 2013 to 2016. The Atlas of Environmental Migration was presented at the conference and The State of Environmental Migration 2016 - A review of 2015 was launched.