16 Nov 2022

Climate Change and Migration in Mountain Areas

  • Date
    16 Nov 2022, 13:30pm
  • Location
    Tajikistan Pavilion, Pavilion 47 (P47), Blue Zone, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt
  • Organizer

    IOM, Committee for Environmental Protection of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan 

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Mountainous areas worldwide are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Average global warming of 1.5oC and above is projected to have devastating impacts on mountain systems, including glacier retreat, increase in hazard risk and loss of biodiversity. However, in comparison to Small Island Developing States, mountainous countries have not managed to develop collective advocacy efforts that catch the attention of global policymakers and donors.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019) notes that “migration can have mixed outcomes on reducing socio-economic vulnerability since cases of increase and of reduction of vulnerability are both found in-migration from high- mountain regions that [are] driven by cryosphere changes”. For example, displacement in aftermath of sudden-onset disasters (e.g., flash floods, GLOFs and landslides) is common. The climate change impacts on pasture quality and water availability have heightened the risk of transhumance/pastoralism in high mountain areas.

At the same time, migration is a traditional livelihood strategy across mountain areas. In many mountain countries, remittances make a substantial contribution to the GDP as well as play a critical role in social protection at the household- and community levels. Planned relocation is also a common strategy in mountain areas, although it has received limited attention and knowledge management and evidence gathering remain relatively weak (Bower and Weerasinghe, 2021).

Human mobility in disaster, environmental degradation and climate change settings in mountain areas have strong gender dimensions. The vulnerabilities to the impacts of environmental hazards are affected by the allocation of traditional gender roles, in regard to land ownership, decision-making power, access to resources, information and sustainable livelihoods. Throughout the migration, displacement and planned relocation experiences, gender dimensions also shape the vulnerability and capacities of different persons, including in relation to gender-based violence, access to livelihood and differentiated contributions to climate change adaptation.

Human-rights-based interventions are required to assess the rights that are affected by hazards and mobility and how to ensure their protection. Yet there is still a lack of dedicated policies at the national level to address the gender dimensions of disasters, environmental degradation and climate change, thus requiring further evidence and action. Building similar projects in two diverse countries can help in integrating a strong knowledge management approach to research findings and policy approaches.

The Task Force on Displacement of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change recommends that parties enhance action to prevent, avert and address displacement related to climate impacts. Actors in mountain areas should be supported to better address the human mobility challenges and opportunities in the context of climate change. This includes working on existing evidence gaps in mountain regions and building collaborative approaches.

Event Information

In the framework of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan are organizing a dedicated side event to discuss the climate and human mobility nexus in mountain areas. The side event will be moderated by IOM and will include interventions from government representatives from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Ecuador, followed by a Q&A segment. It will take place on Wednesday 16 November from 13:30 -15:00 EET (Egypt Standard Time) with a total duration of 90 minutes. The event will be held at the Tajikistan Pavilion, Pavilion 47 (P47), within the Blue Zone.

Moderator and Panelists 

  1. Mr. Shodmonov Muzaffar Deputy Director of Project Implementation Group, Agency for Hydrometeorology Committee on Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan

  2. Ms. Aizhan Amangeldievna Skakova, Member of the Committee on Ecology and Nature Management Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Deputy of the Parliament, Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan

  3. Ms. Karina Barrera, Subsecretary of Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Water, Government of Ecuador  
  4. Ms. Masako Ueda, Regional Thematic Specialist - Migration, Environment and Climate Change, Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, IOM (Moderator)