“We can no longer talk about climate change without talking about human mobility.” 

The Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (KDMECC) outlines 12 commitments by its signatory countries to address the effects of climate change on human mobility in the East and Horn of Africa region. 

KDMECC was adopted in July 2022 during a High-Level Inter-Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (MECC) in Kampala, Uganda, geared towards developing an integrated approach to climate change-induced mobility across the region and contributing to raising the important topic of human mobility in the context of climate change, at the global level for serious consideration, such as at the Conference of the Parties (COPs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference in July was hosted by the Republic of Uganda, spearheaded by the Ministry of Water and Environment, and supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa and the UNFCCC’s and East Africa Development Bank’s Regional Collaboration Centre (RCC) for East and Southern Africa. 

Two Heads of State, His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, and His Excellency Salva Kiir, President of South Sudan, presided over the signing ceremony and communicated their endorsement of the Kampala Declaration.  

This first regional, high-level Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change demonstrates the urgency and whole-of-government prioritization that leaders in the region and the African continent place on this topic. 

An Expert Working Group (EWG) was formed in May 2023 to ensure that the signatory states of the KDMECC receive the necessary support they need to meet their commitments. The EWG comprises climate and migration experts and youth climate advocates from the signatory countries and regional bodies.    

Signatory countries of the KDMECC

Countries in the East and Horn of Africa;

  • The Republic of Burundi
  • The Republic of Djibouti
  • The Democratic Republic of Congo
  • The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
  • The Republic of Kenya
  • The Republic of Rwanda
  • The Federal Republic of Somalia
  • The Republic of South Sudan
  • The Republic of the Sudan
  • United Republic of Tanzania
  • The Republic of Uganda

Cooperating Countries;

  • The Arab Republic of Egypt 
  • People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
  • The Republic of Senegal
  • The Republic of Zambia

Expansion of the KDMECC 

Since 2022, there has been a rapidly growing recognition and interest in the KDMECC as a comprehensive and action-oriented framework, which addresses the challenges and opportunities of climate-induced mobility in practical and effective ways. The Government of Uganda has consistently expressed its support for the continental expansion of the KDMECC and His Excellency President Ruto, in his capacity as the Chair of the Committee of African Heads of States and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), under the auspices of the African Union (AU) has expressed support for the same. 

In response to the interest in expanding the KDMECC continentally, and in recognition that sustainable, climate-change resilient and socially just development cannot be conceived without considering human mobility in all its forms and recognising the importance of facilitating migration for the benefit of both sending and receiving locations and states, IOM has agreed to support the continental expansion of the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC) through the coordination and development of a Continental Addendum. 

To this end, the Governments of Uganda and Kenya, together with UN-IOM did, in early June 2023, brief the Chairs and climate change negotiators of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) during the 58th Subsidiary Bodies meeting in Bonn, Germany on this proposed expansion. The briefing on the continental expansion was met with unanimous support. 

To continue ensuring close consultation with MSs across the continent, IOM in collaboration with the UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa (RCC EAS Africa) and the Governments of the Republics of Uganda and Kenya are organising a high-level technical conference for the discussion and finalisation of the Continental Addendum to the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC), which is envisaged to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2023, followed by a support to the Africa Climate Action Summit (ACS) with the Objective to “Catalyse support for continental policy development and implementation, in particular the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change.” 

Meaningful youth engagement in the Kampala Declaration on MECC expansion process 

In a purposeful effort to ensure youth have access to policy-making at the highest levels, IOM partnered with RCC Kampala, YOUNGO and Chatham house to engage youth advocate representatives from each of the countries in the East and Horn of Africa through a capacity-building programme prior to the Kampala Ministerial Conference on MECC in July 2022. Capacitated youth representatives were invited to the conference where they developed a youth statement alongside high-level government and UN experts which was delivered at the Ministerial session. The statement included requests, recommendations, youth commitments and contributions towards addressing climate induced migration and three key points were integrated into the KDMECC. 

Read a blog: Youth Reflections 

At COP27, the first African Youth Declaration for Climate Mobility, developed by African youth, was launched with Africa Climate Mobility Initiative support, to which IOM is partner. The declaration was based on youth messages to the Kampala Conference. 

To ensure that the signatory states of the Kampala Declaration on MECC follow through on their commitments and receive the necessary support to address their needs, it is crucial to involve youth in the appropriate procedures and the various stages necessary for implementing and advancing the Kampala Declaration. 

youth engagement forum targeting young people from the African continent will be facilitated in Nairobi in August 2023 to improve the knowledge and understanding of migration, environment and climate change nexus and importantly, the continental youth engagement forum will develop a statement for integration in the continentally expanded Kampala Ministerial Declaration on MECC; the KDMECC-AFRICA.  

The information is available on IOM East and Horn of Africa official webpage.

Read more about the work IOM does on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change in the East and Horn of Africa here.