Earlier this month, members of the Task Force on Displacement (TFD) met to establish and draft a two-year workplan on human mobility and climate change, ahead of the twenty-fifth Conference of Parties (COP25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The formation of the Task Force on Displacement was mandated by the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and conducted under the stewardship of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM).
The Task Force is comprised of UNFCCC Executive Committee members and technical experts from different groups under the UNFCCC, United Nations (UN) organizations, including IOM, as and a civil society group. Its original mandate was to develop recommendations to address human mobility, displacement and migration due to climate change, natural hazards and slow-onset events.
Under the initial mandate, IOM led several activities, including mapping existing international and national polices and institutional frameworks relevant to climate change and migration to help provide policy recommendations moving forward. The relevance of TFD’s recommendations was recognized by States Parties to the UNFCCC at the last COP24, and the mandate of the TFD was extended for an additional two-years. Along with the implementation of the Excom/WIM five-year workplan, these developments highlight the importance of the issue for global climate negotiations.
Under the new mandate, the TFD ambitions to enhance cooperation and facilitation across relevant stakeholders in the implementation and integration of its original recommendations, working across exiting and relevant international, regional and national policies and frameworks. As a founding member of the Task Force, IOM aims to look beyond displacement issues only towards a broader perspective encompassing all aspects of the climate migration nexus.
With the new workplan, IOM is prioritizing a regional focus, with attention to countries most vulnerable to climate change, and will lead on activities related to capacity building and the development of guidance notes. The overall meeting focused on identifying opportunities to promote increased policy coherence both under and outside the UNFCCC, including by strengthening guidance on how to include migration dimensions in national climate adaptation plans and policies and in the development of projects under the Green Climate Fund.
This year, the TFD welcomed two members of the Adaptation Committee (AC), established at COP 16 (2010), to “promote the implementation of enhanced action on adaptation in a coherent manner” under UNFCCC. This is an important addition at a time when the notion of “migration as adaptation ” to climate change is very much discussed.
Looking ahead, a number of important discussions will provide the TFD with the opportunity to highlight the immense challenges linked to addressing climate migration, but also the solutions that can be developed to support states on this global issue, such as the UN Climate Action Summit this September 23rd in New York and COP25 in Chile. As we hear daily of individuals and communities across the globe forced to migrate because of the negative impacts of climate change on their everyday lives, it is now more than ever the time to accelerate the implementation of the TFD recommendations.
With thanks to Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change, and IOM's focal point on UNFCCC, for her contribution to the analysis.