Document Type


Publication Date



There is an immediate lack of people-centred empirical evidence investigating how slow onset events influence human (im)mobility across the globe. This represents an important knowledge gap that makes it difficult for climate policy to safeguard vulnerable populations (whether on the move or left behind). In this study, 48 qualitative focus group discussions in the Philippines elaborated around people’s (im)mobility pathways in the context of slow onset events. The selected collective storytelling approach effectively mapped out the (im)mobility trends of 12 different origin- and destination locations involving the perceptions of 414 women and men across six provinces on Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao islands. The research findings delicately outlined people’s translocality and its interlinkage with their personal (im)mobility experiences. People described how slow onset events such as longer-term soil and water degradation often contributed to reduced livelihood sustainability that influenced their decisions to move or stay. At the very core of people’s narratives were the ways that the environmental changes and (im)mobility experiences influenced people’s wellbeing. Some people described how temporary migration could increase their social status and boost wellbeing after returning home. Others described adverse impacts on their mental health during their migration experiences due to loss of place, identity, food, and social networks. The research findings show how policy can better support those moving, hosting, or identifying as immobile, as well as where (geographically and socially) more assistance is needed.