Human Mobility in the UNFCCC

IOM Outlook on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), as the leading intergovernmental migration agency, has been at the forefront of operational, research, policy and advocacy efforts, seeking to bring environmental migration to the heart of international, regional and national concerns, in collaboration with its Member States, observers and partners. IOM’s work on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) has greatly expanded in the past five years, both in terms of the number of activities and as regards IOM’s engagement in external policy processes. In order to continue stepping up IOM’s engagement in this thematic area, a dedicated institutional structure, the “Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division” (MECC), was created within the organization, tasked with leading IOM’s work on migration, environment and climate change. For more information, please see IOM and Migration, Environment and Climate Change and Relevant Publications.

Key messages on Migration and Climate Change

Climate change is a cause of human mobility

Human mobility is an adaptation strategy to climate change Climate change policy should consider human mobility
  • Environmental and climatic factors are both drivers and pull factors of migration, and are influenced by economic, social, political and demographic aspects. All these different dimensions together define a community and an individual’s resilience and vulnerability.
  • Mobility strategies of migrants are not inherently “positive” or “negative”. Mobility can save lives, enhance resilience and reduce risk – and it can also make people vulnerable and expose them to new risks.
  • Talking of migration in the context of climate change means giving a human face to the climate change debate. More emphasis needs to be placed on the migrants themselves, their families and the communities, on understanding their strategies, the challenges they face, and mobility options that are available to them.
  • Individuals and communities use migration to adapt to changing environmental conditions. In some contexts, migration can constitute an important and positive adaptation strategy that can be supported by policy action. Human mobility matters should be factored in the National Adaptation Plans and in adaptation strategies.
  • The contributions of migrants and diasporas for instance through remittances, knowledge transfers and investments can serve adaptation purposes. The role of migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change can be facilitated.
  • UNFCCC process should continue to include human mobility questions in its negotiations. Following major advances in Cancun in 2010 (decision 1.CP/16 paragraph 14 (f)) and in Doha in 2012 (decision on loss and damage 3.CP/18 paragraph 7 (a) (vi)), negotiations under the UNFCCC should continue to factor in and progress on the question of human mobility in relation to climate change.
  • Policymakers need to be empowered at the national, local, or regional and international levels to be able to address the complex nexus of migration, environment and climate. Climate and migration require common policy responses.






Climate Migration in the News

COP21 Paris Agreement: A Stepping Stone for Climate Migrants 

The gathering storm of climate migration

Don’t forget migration while making policies on climate change

'Climate Migrants' recognized in Paris draft agreement

Paris Accord Considers Climate Change as a Factor in Mass Migration

Urgent Action Needed to Tackle Environmental Migration

Don't let the Paris climate talks ignore people displaced by global warming

Promoting human security and minimizing conflict associated with forced migration in the Pacific region

Facing the reality of mass migrations in Asia-Pacific 

World cannot ignore the masses made homeless by disasters amid a warming planet

The climate change and migration nexus in Bangladesh

Climate Change Likely to Displace Millions

IOM, ICIMOD to study effect of labour migration, remittance on climate change adaptation

Afterthoughts on the Kiribati climate-induced migration meeting

Study calls on United Nations to clarify legal status of environmental migrants

Climate Migration and Disability 

Climate-forced migration, displacement still unaddressed

Soil turn to sand

Increased Migration

Bangladesh to promote climate displacement as global dev agenda

Le drame des migrants climatiques

COP21: países insulares alertan sobre desplazados por cambio climático

Desplazados climáticos: ¿La próxima gran crisis migratoria?

Klima und Migration: Suas Hoffnung auf ein besseres Leben

Land unter im Pazifik: Inselstaaten rufen um Hilfe in Paris 

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