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 comments and observations on the International Law Commission Draft articles on the protection of persons in the event of disasters with commentaries, 68th session of the International Law Commission, January 2016.
Protection of persons in the event of disasters. Comments and observations received from Governments and international organizations, A/CN.4/696, 68th session of the International Law Commission, 14 March 2016.
- The final Text of the Draft Articles with commentaries submitted to the UN General Assembly for adoption in the form of a Convention, in Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 2016, vol. II, Part Two (with the new definition of disaster referring to mass displacement as suggested by IOM).
- GFMD 2016 Roundtable 3.1 Background Paper Migrants in Situations of Crises: Conflict, climate change and natural disasters EN | FR | ES
- Climate change, cross-border displacement and human rights: is there a protection gap and will COP21 help close it?, event jointly organized by the Universal Rights Group and the Geneva Environment Network, October 2015
IOM Submissions to the Human Rights Council
IOM Statement at the Human Rights Council Intersessional Panel Discussion on human rights, climate change, migrants and persons displaced across international borders, 6 October 2017.
Expert meeting on Climate Change and Human Rights, Panel presentations and dialogue on human rights, migration, and displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change. Ms. Dina Ionesco, Head, Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division, International Organization for Migration, 6-7 October 2016.
- Analytical study on the relationship between climate change and the human right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, A/HRC/32/23, 6 May 2016.
- Relationship between climate change and the human right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Informal summary of inputs received, A/HRC/31/CRP.4, 26 February 2016.
- IOM Submission for OHCHR’s Study on the Relationship between Climate Change and the Enjoyment of the Right to Health, 31 October 2015.
- IOM Statement at the ‘Full-day discussion on human rights and climate change’ held during the 29th session of the Human Rights Council, 6 March 2015, Summary Report, A/HRC/29/19, 1 May 2015.
Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 22 June 2017
- IOM Written Contribution to the Biden Administration in Response to the Executive Order on Climate Change and Migration (4 February 2021)
- IOM Written Contribution to the 2020 European Commission (EC) Consultation on climate-induced displacement
- IOM Submission to the House of Lords of the United Kingdom
- IOM Submission to the European Assembly of the Council of Europe on Migration, Environment and Climate Change
- IOM Submission to the call for inputs by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons on “Internal displacement in the context of the slow-onset adverse effects of climate change”
- IOM Submission - Analysis of the views of the United Nations Human Right s Committee on the Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand case