Workshops, Seminars and Conference Sessions

This page provides summaries of non-internet based workshops, seminars and conference sessions that PERN has helped to organize.

2009 | 2007 | 2005 | 2003

Workshop Calendar 2009




27 April 2009As the World Churns: Environmental Migration and Population DisplacementsPERN Session at the 2009 IHDP Open Meeting, Bonn, Germany
Session organizers: Dr. Alisson Barbieri (Chairperson, PERN Steering Committee) and Mr. Alex de Sherbinin (Co-coordinator, PERN)

This panel focuses on migration and population displacements associated with environmental change. The literature on so-called “environmental refugees” has exploded in the past two decades, but the actual evidence for environmentally induced population displacements is relatively slim. These papers will examine the evidence for past migration from environmental changes (such as land degradation), natural hazards (such as droughts and flooding), and large scale infrastructure projects with environmental consequences. The papers then go on to ask the question: Can we say with any certainty what future migration patterns will be given projected changes in climate and patterns of development and the likelihood that major infrastructure projects will be part of the mix of adaptation responses?

The paper presentations:

  1. Dr. Susana Beatriz Adamo: “Environmentally Induced Population Displacements”
  2. Dr. Marcia Castro, Mr. Alex de Sherbinin, and Dr. Shalini Vajjhala: “Population Displacements Associated with Environmentally Significant Infrastructure Projects”
  3. Dr. Alisson Barbieri, et al: “Impacts of Climate Change on Population Migration and Vulnerability: Analysis of Scenarios for Brazil’s Northeast”
  4. Dr. Stephen Perz, et al.: “Large-Scale Infrastructure Projects in the Southwestern Amazon: Demographic Processes and Rural and Urban Resilience and Vulnerability
  5. Dr. Takeshi Sakurai and Dr. Kimseyinga Savadogo : “Migration Impact on Soil Fertility Management: The Case of Rural Burkina Faso”

Workshop Calendar, 2007




11-13 June 2007International Workshop on Urban Population-Development-Environment DynamicsFairview Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya

This workshop is focused on urban population, development and environment (PDE) dynamics in developing countries. The selected papers represent policy-relevant papers that accurately present some aspect of the current PDE dynamics in a given urban agglomeration (i.e., case studies on specific cities based on original research), the findings of which can be applied to solving problems associated with rapid urbanization in contexts of high poverty and growing strains on the environment and natural resources, as well as to promote policies to achieve Millennium Development Goal 7 and its associated targets.

The workshop is sponsored by PERN and the following organizations:

  • African Population & Health Research Centre (APHRC)
  • Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) of Columbia University
  • Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography (CICRED)
  • Programme for International Research on the Interactions between Population, Development and Environment (PRIPODE)

All of the papers presented at the workshop can be found on the CICRED Web site. A subset of these papers were selected for inclusion in the proceedings, published by CICRED and available for download below. The full publication citation is:

de Sherbiniin, A., A. Rahman, A. Barbieri, J.C. Fotso, and Y. Zhu (eds.). 2009. Urban Population-Environment Dynamics in the Developing World: Case Studies and Lessons Learned. Paris: Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography (CICRED) (316 pages).

Please click on the paper titles below to download the papers in PDF format.

book cover
Front Cover 
Front Matter (PDF, 240KB) 
Foreword (PDF, 121KB)
Mark Mongomery
Introduction (PDF, 197KB)
Alex de Sherbinin
A. Thompson Adeboyejo and Olajoke Abolade
Tunde Agbola and Elijah M. Agunbiade
Esther W. Dungumaro
Family Migration: A Vehicle of Child Morbidity in the Informal Settlements of Nairobi City, Kenya? (PDF, 246KB)Adama Konseiga
Urbanization and Environmental Quality: Insights from Ghana on Sustainable Policies (PDF, 204KB)Michael J. White, Catherine S. Andrzejewski, Kofi Awusabo-Asare, Akwasi Kumi-Kyereme, Scott W. Nixon, Betty A. Buckley, Stephen L. Granger and Holly E. Reed
An Assessment of Urban Environmental Issues Using Remote Sensing and GIS Techniques: An Integrated Approach. A Case Study: Delhi, India (PDF, 1MB)Atiqur Rahman, Maik Netzband, Alka Singh and Javed Mallick
The Evolution of China’s in situ Urbanization and Its Planning and Environmental Implications: Case Studies from Quanzhou Municipality (PDF, 953KB)Yu Zhu, Xinhua Qi, Huaiyou Shao
and Kaijing He
Towns in the Jungle: Exploring Linkages Between Rural-Urban Mobility, Urbanization and Development in the Amazon (PDF, 319KB)Alisson F. Barbieri, Roberto L. M. Monte-Mor
and Richard E. Bilsborrow
Mobility, Urban Sprawl and Environmental Risks in Brazilian Urban Agglomerations: Challenges for Urban Sustainability (PDF, 710KB)Ricardo Ojima and Daniel Joseph Hogan


The world is rapidly urbanizing. The UN Population Division estimates that by 2007 half the world’s population will be urban. As indicated by Redman and Jones (2004):

“[C]ities occupy 4% or less of the world’s terrestrial surface, yet they are home to almost half the global population, consume close to three-quarters of the world’s natural resources, and generate three-quarters of its pollution and wastes. Moreover, the UN estimates that virtually all net global population and economic growth over the next 30 years will occur in cities, leading to a doubling of current populations. This growth will require unprecedented investment in new infrastructure and create undreamed of challenges for political and social institutions.” (page 1)

Urbanization is particularly rapid in the developing world, where major economic restructuring in countries like China, and the lack of rural employment opportunities in many African and Asian countries, is provoking an exodus from rural areas to towns and cities. Although much of the focus has been on the growth, infrastructural and environmental problems of megacities (those over 10 million in population), the reality is that much urbanization is projected to take place in the small to medium sized cities (e.g., former provincial towns), and not just large or “primate” cities. This poses numerous challenges the environment and health ranging from conversion of cropland, forest and wetlands to urban “built up” areas (and the consequent loss of ecosystem services); adequate provision of improved water and sanitation, particularly in informal settlements; waste removal; and air pollutant emissions from industry and transportation.

The overall purpose of the meeting is to better understand urban population-development-environment linkages with the aim of informing policy and programmes to improve the situation of the urban poor as well as to protect the environment.  This meeting will bring together scientists who have conducted research in individual cities (or perhaps comparative work on a number of cities) exploring these linkages. It will seek to extract from the studies recommendations for improved urban governance. Papers will be solutions-oriented, seeking to identify the leverage points and approaches necessary to meet the housing and service needs of growing populations while seeking greater urban environmental sustainability. Target audiences for the results will be urban managers (mayors, planners, city officials, and agency staff) and other researchers addressing these linkages.


Redman, Charles and Nancy S. Jones. 2005. “The Environmental, Social and Health Dimensions of Urban Expansion.” Population and Environment 26(6): 505-520. (See also the PERN Cyberseminar background paper upon which this paper was based.)

Sanchez-Rodriguez, Roberto, Karen C. Seto, David Simon, William Solecki, Frauke Kraas, Gregor Laumann. 2005. Science Plan: Urbanization and Global Environmental Change. Bonn, Germany: IHDP.

Tannerfeldt, Göran and Per Ljung. 2006. More Urban, Less Poor. London: Earthscan.

Workshop Calendar, 2005




23 July 2005Invited Session: "Population and Environment", IUSSP XXV International Population ConferenceConvention Center, Tours, France

This invited session at the IUSSP International Population Conference examined a number of different aspects of population-enviornment linkages.

Chair: Landis MacKellar, IIASA
Discussant: Alex de Sherbinin, PERN Coordinator and CIESIN, Columbia University

1. Human fertility declines with higher population density  •  Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Maria Rita Testa, Vienna Institute of Demography; Dustin Penn, Austrian Academy of Sciences
2. Mortality as a factor shaping household use of natural resources in rural South Africa  •  Lori M. Hunter, University of Colorado at Boulder; Wayne Twine, University of the Witwatersrand; Aaron Johnson, University of Colorado at Boulder
3. Integrating projections of households, energy use and carbon emissions for the United States  •  Michael Dalton, California State University, Monterey Bay; Brian C. O'Neill, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Leiwen Jiang, Brown University; John Pitkin, Analysis and Forecasting, Inc.
4. Mediating factors and deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia: a mixed-method analysis  •  John Sydenstricker-Neto, Cornell University

Workshop Calendar, 2003




19 October 2003Population, Consumption and Environment Dynamics: Theory and MethodWyndham Hotel, Montréal, Canada

This workshop was organized by PERN with funding from MacArthur Foundation's Population, Consumption and Environment (PCE) initiative. The purpose of this workshop was to explore a research agenda and methodological approaches for studying the linkages between population, consumption and environment in both developed and developing countries. It built upon earlier research agendas set by the National Research Council's Environmentally Significant Consumption: Research Directions (Stern et al. 1997), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) sustainable consumption initiative (OECD 2002). The agenda was as follows; papers that are linked are available for download. Click here for a workshop summary.

Time Slot

Speakers / Topics




Presenter: Vaclav Smil, University of Manitoba (Canada), Energy Consumption and the Environment

PDF Paper - Energy and Sustainable Development in Eastern EuropePresenter: Daniela Zlatunova, University of Sofia (Bulgaria), Energy and Sustainable Development in Eastern Europe

PDF Paper - Charcoal Production and Consumption in East AfricaPresenter: Evans Kituyi, African Centre for Technology Studies (Kenya), Charcoal Production and Consumption in East Africa


Question & Answer and Discussion


Coffee Break


 Ideas for a Research ProgramPresenter: Faye Duchin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), Household Lifestyles: Ideas for a Research Program

Discussant: Barbara Entwistle, Carolina Population Center and the University of North Carolina (USA)

 The Case of Energy and FoodPresenters: Fritz Reusswig & Hermann Lotze-Campen, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany), Changing Global Lifestyles and Consumption Patterns: The Case of Energy and Food

Discussant: Daniel Hogan, Population Studies Unit, University of Campinas (Brazil)


Question & Answer and Discussion


Closing Panel

Po Garden, Unit for Social and Environmental Research (USER), Chiang Mai University (Thailand)

Paul Stern, National Research Council (USA)

Sara Curran, Office of Population Research, Princeton University (USA)

PDF Paper - Major Issues for Constructing a Sustainable Consumption Research AgendaAlex de Sherbinin, Population-Environment Research Network and CIESIN, Columbia University (USA), Major Issues for Constructing a Sustainable Consumption Research Agenda


Brainstorming session on future PCE research agenda


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 2002. Towards Sustainable Household Consumption? Trends and Policies in OECD Countries. Paris: OECD.

Stern, P.C., T. Dietz, V.W. Ruttan, R.H. Socolow, and J.L. Sweeney (eds.). 1997. Environmentally Significant Consumption: Research Directions. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. (Available online)