Fortress destroyed by erosion in Keta, Ghana

Coastal regions are at the centre of two closely related key challenges for today’s societies: environmental change and migration. They are traditionally both origins and destinations of migratory movements. At the same time, coasts are continuously transformed by geomorphological, climatic and other forces. This ongoing change is expected to increase with global warming and its secondary effects. The project focuses on two coastal regions: the region of Semarang in Central Java (Indonesia) is threatened by land subsidence and flooding; the district of Keta (Ghana) is experiencing ongoing, heavy erosion along the coast.

The research project asks how environmental changes and respective risk cultures intersect with evolving migrant trajectories, economic strategies of households and policy responses to create differing sets of constraints and opportunities for “new regional formations”. These are characterised by an array of differing actor sets, negotiation arenas, policies and concrete adaptation measures that are constituted along the environmental change. The concentration on the regional level reflects the now widely accepted idea that regions have significantly grown in importance as hubs of economic and political development and as interpretive frameworks shaping individual and collective identities.

The research is carried out in a fully integrated design. All subprojects will deal with the situation in both regions. Accordingly, the aim will be a high degree of consistence in methods and research design.


    SP1 – Environmental changes
    SP2 – Risk cultures
    SP3 – Migrant trajectories
    SP4 – Economic strategies
    SP5 – Policy responses


Project Partners (Germany)


International Project Partners

Artec – Sustainability Research Center (artec), University of Bremen
Prof. Dr. Michael Flitner (Project coordinator) | SP5 – Policy responses

Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen
Dr. Volker Heins | SP2 – Risk cultures

Institute of Geographical Sciences Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Felicitas Hillmann | SP3 – Migrant trajectories

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Bremen

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Prof. Dr. Achim Schlüter, Dr. Alessio Rovere | SP1 – Environmental changes and SP4 – Economic strategies



Centre for Migration Studies, Accra (Prof. Mariama Awumbila)

Coastal and Marine Resources Management Centre, University of Ghana
Dr. Georg Wiafe
Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana
Dr. Appeaning Addo, Martin Oteng-Ababio


Faculty of Geography, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta
Dr. Muh Aris Marfai