Launch of the CLIMB Database: The First Comprehensive Tool Tracking Policies and Instruments on Climate Change and Human Mobility

Geneva, Switzerland, 5 October 2023 – The Platform on Disaster Displacement, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Network on Migration together hosted a side event on “Data Frontiers: Understanding Human Mobility in the Context of Disasters, Climate Change and Environmental Degradation” marking the official launch of the CLIMB Database: Human Mobility in the Context of Disasters, Climate Change and Environmental Degradation Database. This panel discussion was part of the International Dialogue on Migration, whose theme focused on “Think about tomorrow, Act Today: The Future of Human Mobility and Climate Change.”

Every year, millions of people find themselves compelled to move in the context of sudden-onset hazards, such as floods and storms. At the same time, the lives and livelihoods of countless others are affected by the slow-onset impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, with many leaving their homes and others remaining trapped in areas at risk. Unless such population movements are safe and orderly, they can challenge human security and people’s rights, especially in rapidly growing urban areas.

Faced with this phenomenon, many governments have already developed policies and instruments to address these challenges from a migration governance perspective. Yet, given the scale and complexity of the topic, implementing commitments to assist and protect those compelled to move across borders in the context of disasters, climate change, and environmental degradation remains a difficult task ahead.

To support such efforts, the CLIMB Database was created to compile provisions relevant to governing human mobility in the context of disasters, climate change and environmental degradation in existing national and regional policy and legal instruments, to strengthen the existing evidence, and enhance policy coherence across existing frameworks.

“A significant amount of knowledge has been gathered in the database. It is an innovative tool for policymakers and all those working on human mobility in the context of climate, disasters, and environmental degradation.[…] it is not an abstract concept, and we can all benefit from practice sharing.” said H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Kwame Asiedu Antwi, Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations Office in Geneva at the launch event.

CLIMB compiles nearly 2,000 policy and legal instruments and practices and is the first database consolidating key data for policymakers, researchers and others working in the fields of human mobility, disasters, climate change, and environmental degradation.

“In the database, we look at the different areas covered. At the national level, we are sometimes siloed in terms of policy development. The database gives us good ground to increase policy coherence at the national level.” remarked Mr. Anare Leweniqila, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

While this database draws mostly on commitments outlined in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), especially its Objective 2, it is highly relevant to other global policy frameworks, including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. “We need more development related to bringing climate change, environmental degradation, and disaster into migration governance,” said Atle Solberg, Head of the Secretariat of the PDD.

“In this database, you can see data from other countries, and we all have things to share and things to learn. This helps policy creation,” added Mr. Eduardo José A. de Vega, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines.

The side event highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts, data-driven policy development, and the global community’s commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of those on the move or at risk of displacement in a changing climate.

“The database facilitates data-driven decision-making in an era where evidence for policymaking is paramount.” affirmed Mrs. Suzana Simichen Sopta, Counsellor in Humanitarian Affairs, Permanent Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva.

Hosted on the UN Network on Migration Hub, the CLIMB Database is the result of a collective project led by PDD and IOM, under the UN Network on Migration’s workstream on climate change, the GCM and the Paris Agreement, in collaboration with various partners and with funding from Germany.