20 Dec 2021

COP26 - Event - Climate change, Migration and Health: Interconnected Challenges for the 21st Century

  • Date
    09 Nov 2021, 10:00am
  • Location
  • Organizer

    International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Health Organization (WHO), The Lancet Migration

Date and time: 9 November 2021, 10AM – 11AM (GMT) 

Location: In Glasgow, the event will take place in the Blue Zone, at the French Pavilion, with a livestream on Youtube.

Access the livestream here

Host Country: Government of France


Climate change has been described as the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, with a higher frequency of climate-related health hazards and fatalities due to malnutrition, increased propagation of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue and heat stress, among others. Slow-onset events and processes, such as sea-level rise, droughts and salinity intrusion also seriously alter clean water availability and viability of crops, with increased related health risks for people. As a result, the number of people migrating because of the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on their livelihoods, daily lives and health is expected to rise in different parts of the world. 

Migrants may be particularly vulnerable to the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on health, due to a lack of access to health care and social services, poor working and living conditions, or limited access to rights and level of inclusion in host communities. Many migrants moving in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and disasters also have specific physical and mental health needs that are linked to their exposure to climate and environmental conditions. More than ever, robust and migrant-inclusive health systems, as acknowledged in the Global Compacts for Migration and Refugees (United Nations General Assembly, 2018) and through Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (United Nations, 2015), are needed. 

Considerations of the links between climate change, health, and migration must be better explored and understood, and addressed out of traditional silos. To take advantage of the prominent role and attention health is given at the 2021 UN Climate Conference, WHO, IOM and Lancet Migration have joined forces to raise the importance of the nexus of these three themes. 

The roundtable discussion will bring together high-level stakeholders, including ministerial representatives from affected countries, to discuss challenges and opportunities associated to these challenges, share lessons learnt and good practices, and foster multi-sectoral and intergovernmental collaboration. 

Contributors include:

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organisation
  • António Vitorino, Director General, International Organisation for Migration
  • Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary-General 
  • Caroline Dumas, Special Envoy on Migration and Climate Action, IOM
  • Jocalyn Clark, Executive Editor, the Lancet
  • Joy St John, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency
  • Yann Françoise, Head of Division, Climate, Energy and Circular Economy, City of Paris
  • Ministerial representatives from the Governments of France, Gabon, and Burkina Faso (TBC)

This high-level discussion is part of a series of events jointly organized by IOM, WHO and the Lancet to raise attention during the COP26 to the importance of the nexus between climate change, migration and health, and foster reflection and action to address the related challenges.


IOM contact persons for the event: 

Ms. Alice Baillat, Thematic Specialist, Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Division, International Organization for Migration Headquarters, Geneva

Ms. Eliana Barragan, Migration Health Policy Support Officer, Migration Health Division (MHD), International Organization for Migration Headquarters, Geneva

Related Documents