30 Nov 2023

Climate Change and Human Mobility in Mountain Areas: Uncovering New Evidence for Policymaking

  • Date
    10 Dec 2023, 16:45pm
  • Location
    Central Asia Pavilion (B2, BLDG 15), Blue Zone
  • Organizer

    IOM, Governments of Ecuador and Kazakhstan

Venue: Blue Zone, Central Asia Pavilion on 10 Dec. 16:45-18:00 UAE Time 

Mountain areas worldwide are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As a result of global warming, Andean glaciers have lost between 30% and more than 50% of their area since the 1980s, with grave consequences for water availability. The observed changes include increasing temperatures, changing seasonal weather, reductions in snow cover and duration at low elevations, loss of glacier mass, increased permafrost thaw, and an increase in the number and size of glacier lakes. An increasing trend in disaster frequency has been observed in the Andes, the Himalayas, and the mountain regions of Africa. A 2ºC rise in global warming will lead to a 31-66% loss of glacier mass in Central Asia. The projections indicate negative consequences for the mountain cryosphere, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being as a result of changes induced by increasing temperatures. The worsening impacts of climate change imply the need to consider economic and non-economic loss and damage, including for indigenous populations and other marginalized groups affected by reduced habitability of their ancestral lands.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II Report of the Sixth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports with high confidence that the negative impacts of climate-related displacement and involuntary migration for migrants and sending and receiving areas could be minimized by increasing adaptive capacities. This improves the degree of choice under which migration decisions are made. The global stakeholders increasingly recognize climate action cannot be addressed in silos. Neither can human mobility in the context of climate change. More attention is needed to increase our collective understanding of the complex migration, environment, and climate change nexus in the mountain regions, including solutions for people to move, people on the move and people to stay. In 2023, IOM in collaboration with partners launched a research initiative on ‘Assessing Migration, Environment, and Climate Change Nexus in the Mountain Areas’. This research aims to address two key questions: First, how do climate change impacts shape different types of migration such as disaster displacement, planned evacuation, pastoralism, and planned relocation in mountain areas? Second, how do migration consequences contribute to climate change adaptation in mountain areas? The research methodology involves longitudinal studies. The multiple waves of evidence gathering in the study areas in Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will help the national stakeholders to better understand the changing circumstances of local populations in terms of their vulnerability to environmental and climatic hazards, their migration experiences, and how these shape adaptation. The coordinated evidence-gathering will also help the stakeholders to compare the findings from different mountain regions, which in turn, will contribute to collective advocacy for mountain regions.

Objectives of the Side Event

  • Bring together stakeholders from the mountain countries to share experiences on human mobility in the context of climate change.
  • Explore areas of cooperation in addressing the adverse effects and taking advantage of the opportunities for human mobility in the context of climate change in mountain areas.

Please find more information and events on the COP28 page here.  

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