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Sabine Henry is a Professor in Geography (University of Namur, Belgium). Her research line is the interaction between environment and migration at the household or individual -level. Her research builds on a strong expertise and knowledge of human migration patterns, especially in Africa. In Burkina Faso, she provided one of the rare empirical evidences on the effects of drought on migration (in collaboration with UCL, INED, France and University of Montreal) and she updated this study by including recently a comparison of direct and indirect effects of climate on migration (in collaboration with the London School of Economy). In 2020, a new FNRS PDR project, has started on the perceptions of environmental modifications and human mobility in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the university of Neufchatel (Switzerland) and St Louis in Senegal. With the aim to deepen this link between migration and environment in various rural contexts (Ecuador, The Philippines, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso), her team explored who is likely to migrate (gender, age, socio-economic level, education, livelihood, etc.), which facets of the changing environment most influence the decision-making process to move, how these facets are perceived by the future migrants, and who are likely to be trapped. One of her PhD student is trying to understand migration and emotions related to the environment in a town hit by a super typhon in the Philippines by using a board game (in collaboration with UPPI, Manila).

Sabine Henry also has extensive experience with social vulnerability assessment. She started by measuring social vulnerability to climate-induced hazards (flash flood) in the Philippines (2010-14, with ESSC, Manila).  It usesed community participatory approaches to guarantee durability of the project outcomes.  Sabine Henry is also implied in several projects (mostly funded by PRD-ARES) focusing on vulnerability assessments to earthquakes in Haiti (2018-23), landslide and flash flood in Rwanda (2019-23), and finally flash flood and river erosion in Burundi (2019-23). The 3 ongoing PhD theses aim to better understand decisions made by households and their impacts on their livelihood. The first PhD thesis is about the perception of the seismic risk and perception of the actors' capacity to cope with earthquakes in Haiti. The second one aims to assess the vulnerability of the population to the processes of river dynamics in a large African city through the analysis of territorial vulnerability (Bujumbura). The third one aims at analyzing the interplay between population and vulnerability to landslides and floods in North-Western Rwanda.

She also has experience researching migrants in Belgium, having received funds to study the sociocultural challenges of the EU migration, with the case of Romanians in Belgium (in collaboration with University of Iasi, Romania).  

The significant experience in international and national research projects allows the Sabine Henry’s team exploring several regions in the world (West and Central Africa, South-East Asia, Central America), using different methods to tackle the same issue (quantitative, qualitative, board game, etc.) and examining from every angle the link between migration and environment (interactions between drivers, vulnerability, resilience, slow-onset and sudden events, disaster, etc.). Two papers have been cited more than 400 times and two between 100 and 200 times. Our team received three prices during major international conferences. Currently, her team is composed by 5 PhD students and one permanent scientific collaborator, thanks to the support of international and national projects. 

Sabine Henry was the only EU member of the scientific panel on the Impact of Internal Migration in Developing Countries (2010-15) and member of the scientific panel on the Migration-Climate and Health (2017-2020) of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population. She is a member of the Steering committee of the Population and Environment Research Network (2008-2011 and 2019-present). Since 2015’s refugee crisis in Europe, she also gave several conferences to broader audience about migration in Europe.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, Université Catholique de Louvain

Award Date: 30 Jun 2003


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