The 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) starts on Monday 2 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain. COP25 is under the presidency of the Government of Chile, however the meeting was relocated to Spain.

Climate Migration at COP25

What is at stake at COP25?
Following agreement on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement at COP 24 in Poland last year, a key objective of this year’s conference is to finalize the negotiations related to the full operationalization of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The conference also plans to build ambition ahead of 2020, when countries will submit new and updated national climate action plans. Finally, the conference will have a specific focus on the linkages between oceans and climate change (Blue Cop), a topic of utmost relevance to migration dimensions.

What is at stake at COP25 in terms of climate migration? 

I. Enhancing visibility and building consensus with UNFCCC parties and climate science

As in previous years, COP25 represents the opportunity to bring visibility to the climate migration nexus and advance discussions on the topic within the biggest intergovernmental forum dedicated to climate change policy and action. In the last decade, issues of migration and human mobility have increasingly been considered within the work of the UNFCCC and the annual COP meetings - notably thanks to IOM’s active involvement - and they are now fully institutionalized with dedicated work programmes under the UNFCCC. The relevance of the climate-migration nexus is confirmed by contemporary climate science. For instance, the last three reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) make extensive references to the impacts of climate change on migration (IPCC Oceans and Cryosphere, IPCC Land Report and the IPCC 1.5-Degree C Special Report).

II. Building support for the second phase of the Task Force on Displacement 

In 2015, the Paris Agreement requested the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM/Excom) to establish a Task Force on Displacement to develop recommendations for integrated approaches to advert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change and disaster.

The recommendations were adopted by States at the 2018 COP24 (Decision 10/CP.24) and the mandate of the Task Force was renewed. The Taskforce has developed over the past twelve months a new workplan (Workplan Phase 2), with the extensive support of IOM who hosted a technical meeting for Task Force members and the UNFCCC Secretariat in July 2019. 

At COP25, the WIM/Excom decided to organize an event targeting States to build understanding of the parties and generate support to the implementation of the Workplan Phase 2. IOM and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) have been requested by the WIM/Excom to lead on the organization of this event.

III. Continuing and expanding the climate migration work programme under the UNFCCC

Another stake relates to the institutionalization of the climate migration agenda under the UNFCCC. Aside from phase two of the Workplan of the Task Force on Displacement, migration is one of the five workstreams of the WIM/Excom five-year work programme.

IOM at COP25

IOM's Role at COP25
IOM’s presence at COP25 will built upon IOM contributions to the Secretary General New York Climate Action Summit (September 2019). Areas of focus include support to the action of small island developing states (SIDS), provide evidence and extract knowledge from IOM’s activities with a migration and climate change focus, and showcase IOM’s capacity to convene collaborative initiatives with states, agencies, private sector, civil society as well as with the wider public.

  • Provide technical support to states parties to the UN Climate Convention (UNFCCC) and other actors
  • Play a convening role within the United Nations (UN) system on climate migration (One UN)
  • Strengthen IOM’s institutional engagement with the UNFCCC Secretariat globally and regionally
  • Present IOM’s expertise through speaking roles in high-level events and media interventions
  • Engage with operational partners
  • Connect the policy work under the UNFCCC with the Global Compact for Migration (GCM)

IOM-led Events:
WIM Task Force on Displacement. Moving Forward Together: Averting, Minimizing and Addressing Displacement: The Second Phase of the Task Force on Displacement
03 December 2019 | 18h30 to 20h00 | Room 4


COP 25 Ocean Action Day.  Segment 3 on Knowledge/Science for Adaptation and Displacement Policies and Practices: Development and Implementation in Oceans and Coastal Zones              
07 December 2019 | 16h00 to 17h00 | Japanese Pavilion
ONE UN Human Mobility - Climate change and human mobility - responding to displacement and migration challenges 
12 December 2019 | 18h30 to 20h00 | Room 4


Other Climate Migration-Related Events at COP25


Date Time Room Type of Event Remarks
1 Dec 2019, Sunday Full Day Hall 9 Room 13

Review of WIM by Parties – full-day open event

Organized by the UNFCCC Secretariat
2 Dec 2019, Monday 15.00-16.30 Room 2 Side-event: Political issues of environmental migration Organized by Carre Geo & Environment (CGE) and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS)
2 Dec 2019, Monday 18.30-20.00 Room 3 Side-event: Beyond Labels, Beyond Borders: Advancing rights-based protection of climate-induced migrants Organized by ActionAid International, RLS, COAST Trust, FAWCO
2-3 Dec 2019   Booth 25 Exhibit: A tale from climate ground zero: vulnerability and resilience in water crisis of Bangladesh Organized by COAST Trust and Center for participatory Research and Development (CPRD)

3 Dec 2019, Tuesday

16:00-17:00 French Pavilion Showcasing artwork of the ten finalists of the 2019 COAL Prize Organized by PDD/COAL
3 Dec 2019, Tuesday 16.00-16.15 Climate Action Studio Climate Action Studio Interview with Dina Ionesco, IOM MECC Head Organized by UNFCCC
3 Dec 2019, Tuesday 18.00-20.00 Room 4 TFD side-event: Moving forward together: the second phase of the Task Force on Displacement Organized by IOM and PDD with TFD members

4 Dec 2019, Wednesday

12:30-13.30 French Pavilion Ceremony - COAL Prize Winner COAL Prize Event organized by PDD/COAL

4 Dec 2019,


18.30-21.30 Restaurant Sabores Mas Que Golf Dinner discussion on integrating human rights in the implementation of the Paris Agreement Organized by OHCHR, Belgium, Costa Rica, Luxemburg, Tuvalu, CIEL
5 Dec 2019, Thursday 11.00-11.30   CSO press conference Organized by COAST Trust
5 Dec 2019, Thursday 16:00-17:00 French Pavilion COAL Prize at French Pavilion Organized by PDD/COAL
6-7 Dec 2019   Booth 11 Exhibit: challenges of environmental migration Organized by CGE
7 Dec 2019, Saturday 15.00-16.30   Side-event: Climatic loss and damage and environmentally displaced persons

Organized by Centre Internationale de droit Compare de l’Environnement (CIDCE) and An Organization for Socio-Economic Development (AOSED)

Description: “Discussion on the legal instruments for reinforcing human rights of displaced persons through existing tools and on the urgency to initiate negotiations with a view to adopting an international convention recognizing a legal status for environmentally-displaced persons”

7 Dec 2019, Saturday 16.00-17.00 Japanese Pavilion Oceans Action Day Session 3: Knowledge/Science for Adaptation and Displacement Policies and Practices: Development and Implementation in Oceans and Coastal Zones

Organized by Global Ocean Forum and IOM

Overall Aim of Oceans Action Day: assess existing ocean and climate action and identify the policy gaps that need to be addressed, especially in view of the findings of the IPCC reports on the Ocean and the Cryosphere and on Global Warming of 1.5°C

7 Dec 2019, Saturday 16.45-18.15   Side-event: Responses to protect rights of climate migrants in South Asia

Organized by Stitching Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), CPRD, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), and Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR)

Description: “Loss and Damage of ecosystems and livelihoods has triggered migration of vulnerable communities in the region. Such migrants need to be protected through policy response. The side-event will list down hotspots in South Asia and examples of policies to protect rights of these migrants.”

10 Dec 2019, Tuesday 14.30- 15.30 CCCCC Partnership Pavilion Climate-Induced Mobility in the Eastern Caribbean Organized by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission with support from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
10 Dec 2019, Tuesday 15.15-16.00 Pabellon de España-IFEMA, Zona Azul -Madrid, Spain High-level thematic session on Climate Change, Migration and Displacement Organized by the Secretary of State for Migration Affaires, Ministry of Labour and Migration Affaires
10 Dec 2019, Tuesday 16.00-16.15 SDG Pavilion SDG Media Pavilion Facebook Live with Dina Ionesco, IOM MECC Head Organized by the SDG Media
11 Dec 2019, Wednesday 10.00-11.00 Moana Pacific Pavilion The Official Launch of Fiji’s Displacement Guidelines  Organized by the Government of Fiji
11 Dec 2019, Wednesday 09.30-12.30   Loss and Damage Block at Capacity-Building Hub WIM ExCom is organizing a half-day block during the 2nd Capacity-building Hub, highlighting capacity-building components in the committee's workplan, particularly focusing on strengthening dialogue, coordination, coherence and synergies among relevant stakeholders.
12 Dec 2019, Thursday 10.30-12.30 Italian Pavilion Side event:  Environmental global challenges as seen from Africa. Italian environmental cooperation on display Co-organised by Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea
12 Dec 2019, Thursday 13.15-14.45   Side-event: Strengthening Synergies, Accelerating Ambition

Organized by UN

High-level side-event on how best to leverage policies, programmes, and multi-stakeholder action and partnerships to advance the SDGs, Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework for DRR and other global frameworks to maximize co-benefits and leave no one behind

Speakers include UN DESA, UNFCCC, UNDRR

12 Dec 2019, Thursday 15.00-16.30 Room 4 Side-event: Displacement, human mobility, and climate change Organized by NRC, RAED, ECI, Oxford Climate Policy, The Hugo Observatory
12 Dec 2019, Thursday 18.30-20.00 Room 4 Side-event: Climate change and human mobility: responding to displacement and migration challenges

Annual ONE UN event on Human Mobility since COP21.

IOM and UNHCR have led the organization of this event since 2015.

Speakers include ILO, IOM, OHCHR, UNHCR, UNU, WFP