The human rights framework is an instrumental lens to look at the issue of human mobility in the context of climate change. It helps putting the interests of people, both migrants and the communities, at the center, when defining State actions at both the national and the multilateral levels. 

IOM’s approach to migration, environment and climate change is based on the recognition that human rights-based strategies are central in addressing environmental migration. Multi-pronged legal approaches are needed to tackle the diverse manifestations of environmental migration. IOM’s approach has been developed institutionally since 2007, with the 2011 International Dialogue on Migration devoting attention specifically to legal and human rights-based approaches in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and migration.

IOM encourages the full use of all existing bodies of laws and instruments, both hard and soft law (humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, instruments on internal displacement, disaster management, legal migration and others). Developing regular migration strategies in response to environmental factors and developing solutions for those already on the move, include temporary authorization to stay and temporary protection for environmental migrants. IOM promotes and encourages human rights-based approaches in its Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Capacity Building Programme for states to develop comprehensive policies and action plans to provide protection to environmental migrants. 

Human rights instruments, including resolutions passed at the United Nations Human Rights Council can guide States in resolving some of the challenges created by the impacts of climate change. The rights to life, shelter, food, water and self-determination are particularly relevant in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and migration.

IOM Contributions to Human Rights and Climate Change

IOM Submissions to the Human Rights Council

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 22 June 2017

IOM Submissions