The impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on human mobility is encroaching in the MENA region. MENA region is regarded as the world most water-stressed region and this is being exacerbated due to climate change. Water stress is seriously affecting the agriculture sector as the key industry across the region, which in turn causes food insecurity as well as diminished livelihood opportunities among the region’s populations. The World Bank’s Groundswell Part II report projects that by 2050, without concrete climate and development action, 19.3 million people would become “internal climate migrants” in North Africa due to slow-onset events, which would account for 9 percent of the region’s projected populations.   

Climate-induced disasters and environmental degradation hamper progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, especially for those most vulnerable to climate change. Given the intrinsic links between mobility, risk and resilience, as the UN Migration agency, IOM brings a unique perspective to climate change adaptation by situating human mobility at the centre of its operational strategy to reduce risks and build resilience of the affected communities and individuals.

In the MENA region, IOM applies its comprehensive approach to strengthen Resilience, Mobility and Governance to address the complex linkages between climate change, the environment and migration. Guided by the IOM Institutional Strategy on MECC 2021-2030 and in line with the IOM’s MENA Regional Strategy 2020-2024 and the IOM Strategy for the Gulf Countries (2021-2024)
IOM's Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) priorities in the MENA region are: 

  • To strengthen the evidence-base of human mobility linked to climate change and environmental degradation through research and studies to inform relevant policies and enhance sensitization and capacity building on MECC issues.  
  • To support country-specific solutions to human mobility challenges linked to climate change and environmental degradation through strengthening the relevant policies, coordination frameworks and implementing technical interventions. 
  • To build adaptive capacity of the affected communities to prepare for and respond to the impacts of extreme events and slow-onset events linked to climate change. 

Masako UEDA, Regional Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change,