First Regional Conference on Human Mobility and Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean
Human mobility has been mainstreamed into the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework, which urged Parties to take "measures to enhance understanding, coordination and cooperation with regard to climate change induced displacement, migration and planned relocation, where appropriate, at the national, regional and international levels ”. Discussions on human mobility have continued within the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage and the Task Force on Displacement, and gaps in funding for migration, displacement and planned relocation have been identified to be addressed under the loss and damage funding processes.
The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report notes that "migration and displacements associated with climatic hazards are becoming more frequent in Central and South America, and it is expected they will continue to increase". These trends are also occurring in the island states of the Caribbean due to the impact of multiple hazards . These movements have both loss and damage and adaptation implications depending on the circumstances, as noted by the IPCC: " properly supported and where levels of agency and assets are high, migration as an adaptation to climate change can reduce exposure and socioeconomic vulnerability (medium confidence). However, migration becomes a risk when climate hazards cause an individual, household or community to move involuntarily or with low agency (high confidence).” .
According to data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), disasters caused 2.1 million new displacements in the Americas in 2022 . The World Bank's Groundswell Report indicates that 17 million people in Latin America could become internal climate migrants in the most pessimistic scenarios by 2050 . Disaster displacement is driven not only by environmental hazards but also by social features of vulnerability. Processes such as the growth of informal settlements in urban areas, deforestation, land use change and the advance of the agricultural frontier are critical factors contributing to vulnerability and can have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable populations. In the Caribbean, population and infrastructure are often located near the coast, creating exposure to sea level rise, flooding and hurricanes. Dependence on subsistence agriculture creates vulnerabilities to drought in terms of income and food security.
Climate displacement in Latin America and the Caribbean does not affect people equally. Dynamics of gender, age and belonging to ethnic communities, among other factors, generate different levels of vulnerability, but also imply different adaptive capacities. Research has highlighted women's specific contributions to climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction, but also the pervasive impact of traditional gender roles on hazard exposure and mobility trajectories, where gender-based violence remains a concern. Similarly, the specific modes of knowledge of ethnic communities and other traditional populations can offer significant contributions to climate change adaptation.
In recent years, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have addressed human mobility resulting from the impacts of climate change as a priority issue, as noted in the preparatory minutes of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment, where "increasing forced migration due to climate change, which will aggravate other social and environmental challenges " appears as a major concern. In addition, significant progress has been made in the development of policies and frameworks that address human mobility linked to the impacts of climate change from multiple perspectives, including the migration agenda, disaster risk management, and environmental and climate approaches.
At the same time, there is still a need for further consolidation of positions in the region with respect to human mobility linked to climate change in preparation for COP28 discussions, where the issue will be addressed from multiple perspectives, including on adaptation, loss and damage, and financing. This situation offers an ideal opportunity to build regional synergies, exchange information and put the nexus between human mobility and climate change on the regional agenda ahead of COP28 from a Latin American and Caribbean perspective.
Given growing global challenges on climate mobility, joining efforts to address these topics from a dedicated Latin American and Caribbean approach is a responsibility that cannot be neglected. The conference will be a unique opportunity to advance dialogue on these issues by bringing together representatives of the delegations that will be addressing them at COP28 from a shared perspective.
The aim of the Conference is to provide a space to exchange experiences and build regional synergies on human mobility and climate change, ahead of COP28. The Conference will contribute to the preparations of Latin American and Caribbean countries for COP28 by generating relevant inputs and coordinating efforts to strengthen the integration of human mobility in global discussions. It will also provide an opportunity to review the progress made in the region on these issues and identify areas of support within the region to enhance peer-to-peer knowledge. In particular, the conference will address the nexus between human mobility and climate change through four topics:
- Topic 1: Human mobility and climate change adaptation
- Topic 2: Coherence between strategic frameworks
- Topic 3: Loss and Damage: Priorities for Latin America and the Caribbean
- Topic 4: Governance of climate mobility
The Conference will bring together representatives from Directors of Climate Change, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other relevant counterparts and experts from the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Participants are expected to play a leading role in representing their countries at COP28 to enable the broadest advocacy in the discussions.
The Conference will be held in Bogota on 7 and 8 November 2023 and will include expert presentations, panel discussions and exchanges among participants to ensure interactivity and participation around the selected topics.
The organizing entities will prepare a final document of the event, which will be shared with all delegations as a tool to summarize the identified key points as an input for delegations participating at COP28.
Please check the press release here.