Environmental Migration Newsletter
Knowledge Platform on People on the Move in a Changing Climate
May-June 2020

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Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Updates

António Vitorino, IOM Director General's Message for
World Environment Day 5 June 2020
Watch the video (EN, FR, ES)
Read the special IOM Newsdesk
Rethinking Migration Management in a Changing Climate
by Mariam Traore Chazalnoël and Dina Ionesco, IOM MECC HQ
Read the article (EN, ES)
Figuig palmgrove, Morocco. © IOM / Hind Aissaoui Bennani 2015
Migration at the 9th World Water Forum

by Hélène Glenisson, IOM Senegal
From 22 to 27 March 2021, Dakar will host the largest event on water management, the 9th World Water Forum under the title “Water Security for Peace and Development”. The Forum will gather the water community and decision-makers, and also hold a Summit of Heads of State and major international institutions. Organized for the first time in Africa, this Forum will make rural development one of its top priorities, under which migration has been selected as one of the key action topics. Indeed, water is considered as one of the most important natural resources when it comes to rural communities’ resilience and mobility. Water is the reason why people stay in a territory, the reason why they leave it, and also the reason why they move to it. Reversely, a safe, ordered and humane mobility management can contribute to preserve water resources and ensure a fair access to it.

The International Organization for Migration has been chosen as the Coordinator of the Action Group dedicated to the migration-water nexus in the context of rural development. This is a significant opportunity to advocate for policy coherence regarding migration and water, evidence-based decision making, and migrants’ key role into rural resilience and development. The aim is to support states at the Forum to discuss concrete action regarding the migration-water nexus.
Border Officials of the Eastern Caribbean Trained on Cross-Border Displacement in Disaster and Climate Change Scenarios
9 June 2020, online
by Pablo Escribano, IOM San José
Under the leadership of the Commission of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), more than 160 border and custom officials of nine OECS countries and territories have been trained on different aspects of cross-border disaster-displacement.
The training has been organized by the OECS Commission, IMPACS, IOM, PDD, GIZ and UNHCR in the framework of the initial implementation of the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC) Plan of Action on Human Mobility in Context of Disasters and Climate Change.
Divided in three units delivered across the month of June 2020, the training has tackled issues related to environmental migration and disaster displacement experiences in the Caribbean, migration practices and border management in disaster scenarios, and protection needs and psychosocial support for displaced populations.
The virtual training consisted of a series of expert presentations complemented by supporting material and exercises designed to build the capacities of border agents potentially confronted with cross-border displacement flows as the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season gets under way.
In Conversation With… Mr. António Vitorino
"Collaboration is key to develop solutions for people who migrate or are displaced because of the adverse effects of climate change and disasters. First, we need to plan together. Now is not the moment to multiply competing initiatives and forego coordination. We are in a climate crisis, resources are scarce and they need to be maximized. We know that environmental migration is multi-causal and each partner can bring their own expertise and experience to the table, making the partnership more than the sum of its parts. In that respect, the PDD-IOM-UNHCR partnership can add enormous value as we all have our specific strengths that could be leveraged," says Mr. António Vitorino, Director General of IOM, at the occasion of a breakfast event hosted by French Ambassador H.E Francois Rivasseau representing the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD).
Read more

La croissance démographique est-elle préjudiciable à l´environnement ? La perspective d´une population mondiale à 10 milliards d´individus en 2050 est-elle écologiquement supportable ? Au programme de Terra Terre, Alice Baillat, experte en migration et climat à l'OIM, et Jaques Veron, directeur de recherche émérite à l'INED, répondent à ces questions.
Migration, Agriculture and Urbanization in Senegal
Watch the video (EN, FR)
© IOM / Amanda Nero 2019
L’OIM Guinée lance son premier projet sur la
Migration, l’Environnement et le Changement climatique (MECC)

par l'équipe MECC de l'OIM Guinée 
En collaboration avec le Gouvernement guinéen, l’OIM Guinée vient de démarrer son premier projet Migration, Environnement et Changement climatique. L’objectif global de ce projet est de renforcer la résilience des communautés touchées par le changement climatique et la dégradation de l’environnement, qui jouent un rôle de plus en plus important sur les tendances migratoires.
En Guinée la pauvre gestion des ressources naturelles renforce les impacts du changement climatique exposant les communautés à des multiples risques tels que l’insécurité alimentaire, des conflits relatifs à la diminution des ressources naturelles et des vulnérabilités spécifiques imposées aux femmes. Ces conséquences accentuent la mobilité interne et externe du pays. C’est la raison pour laquelle l’OIM Guinée, à travers cette nouvelle initiative, s’engage à renforcer les connaissances et les capacités des acteurs gouvernementaux et non-gouvernementaux à mieux gérer les questions relatives au changement climatiques et la dégradation environnementale.
Climate Migration and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Spotlight in the Latin American and Caribbean UN Issue Based Coalition
10 June 2020, online
by Pablo Escribano, IOM San José

IOM organized a webinar focused on the relation between climate migration and the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of addressing the needs of climate migrants and vulnerable populations, in the framework of the UN Issue Based Coalition on Climate Change and Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean, co-led by UN Environment and UNDRR.

Presentations from IOM, the Platform on Disaster Displacement, UN Women and an independent expert looked at the impacts the pandemic is having on communities which rely on migration to ensure their livelihoods and resilience and at the implications of lockdowns and movement restrictions in displacement scenarios.

The webinar enabled an exchange of views around different aspects of the climate migration-COVID-19 nexus, including the specific resilience and needs of women, the situation of indigenous communities and the particular case of Bolivia.
Watch the webinar
© BOK Africa Concern
Returning Migrants and Community Members in Ghana Apply Environmentally Sustainable Farming Methods

by Florian Braendli and Juliane Reissig, IOM Ghana

In the context of its regular operations of assisting returning migrants, IOM Ghana is now also supporting beneficiaries to take environmentally conscious business decisions. IOM Ghana works to assist returning migrants in a holistic way: bringing together returnees and their communities and peers to develop businesses that are sustainable and beneficial for the community at large, providing psycho-social support and training, sharing information on safe migration, advocating against stigmatization, and offering capacity building, all with funding from the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and through the Ghanaian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (GGC).

Eight projects involving returnees and their communities have been developed since the beginning of 2020, including four farm businesses. To help increase the knowledge on environmentally sustainable methods, five trainings were also organised for beneficiaries in the Bono and Bono East regions by IOM’s implementing partner, the local non-governmental organization, BOK Africa Concern. Participating farmers learned how to make their own bio-pesticides, which helps them become independent from industrially produced agro-chemicals and increases their revenue, while producing healthy food in harmony with nature.
Journée mondiale des réfugiés : "Les réfugiés environnementaux"
20 juin 2020, Online
par OIM MECC siège

A l’occasion de la Journée internationale des réfugiés célébrée le 20 juin 2020, le Barreau de Paris a organisé une table-ronde consacrée aux migrations environnementales, avec la participation de Alice Baillat, experte en migration et climat dans la division MECC à l’OIM à Genève.

Cet évènement fut l’occasion de faire le point sur l’état des connaissances scientifiques disponibles et la prise en compte politique des mouvements de population liés au changement climatique, aux dégradations environnementales et aux catastrophes, mais aussi de débattre des enjeux juridiques entourant ces questions.
Accéder au vidéo
The COVID-19 Pandemic, Migration and the Environment 
IOM Blog Series

The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound, widespread impacts on migrants, refugees and displaced persons, as well as on migration patterns at local and global level. Its implications for the different facets of the migration and environment nexus are also significant, and very diverse. People evacuating and displaced as a consequence of disasters are facing specific challenges respecting physical distancing and practicing other infection prevention measures. Migrants forced to return towards their home countries and locations might put additional pressures on already fragile ecosystems and livelihoods. Families and communities that were relying on migration as an adaptation or coping strategy have little options to send out their members or have stopped receiving remittances. 

In order to explore the theoretical and practical implications of these dynamics on migration and the environment all over the world, IOM is hosting a series of contributions by practitioners and researchers. This series provides a forum for the environment and migration community to share experiences, knowledge, ideas and recommendations on the linkages between the COVID-19 pandemic and disaster displacement, environmental migration, and the environmental impacts of people’s different movement decisions. This series includes contributions by authors with different disciplinary and professional backgrounds and on all regions of the world, aiming to provide a snapshot of the diversity and complexity of these implications.
Articles in the IOM Blog Series on "The COVID-19 Pandemic, Migration and the Environment":
  1. COVID-19, a risk multiplier for future distress migration and displacement? by Chloe Sydney, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)
  2. Reducing COVID-19 risk through population relocation and closed borders: effects of pandemic emergency measures in a small island state by Taukiei Kitara (Tuvalu Community in Brisbane, Australia), Carol Farbotko (University of the Sunshine Coast and Griffith University), Maina Talia (Charles Sturt University), Samid Suliman (Griffith University) and Chris Evans (University of the Sunshine Coast)
  3. An environmentally-fragile and remittance-dependent country facing a pandemic: the accumulation of vulnerabilities in Kyrgyzstan by Suzy Blondin, University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Geography
  4. COVID-19, Climate Change and Migration: Constructing Crises, Reinforcing Borders by Elodie Hut, Caroline Zickgraf, Francois Gemenne, Tatiana Castillo Betancourt, Pierre Ozer and Céline Le Flour, The Hugo Observatory
  5. It is beneficial to have somewhere to go - 3 reflections on mobility and disaster vulnerability from the COVID-19 pandemic by Lorenzo Guadagno, IOM
  6. Were we all trapped? Reflections on immobility during a global pandemic by Caroline Zickgraf, The Hugo Observatory  
  7. Developing a risk framework to address the nexus between climate change, migration and COVID-19 by Emanuela Paoletti and Kira Vinke, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
  8. Climate Migration and COVID-19 in Bolivia: The nexus and the way forward by Ximena Flores-Palacios, independent researcher and practitioner
Read more
Our Specialists are on Twitter, follow them:

Mariam Chazalnoël Traore @MariamChazal - IOM Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change

Alice Baillat @AliceBail - IOM Associate Expert on Migration, Environment and Climate Change and IOM-PDD Liaison Officer

Soumyadeep Banerjee @soum_banerjee - IOM Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Eastern and South Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Sieun Lee @SieunLeeIOM - IOM Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific
Lorenzo Guadagno @lo_lo_lore IOM Migration, Environment and Climate Change - Department of Operations and Emergencies Liaison Officer

Lisa Lim Ah Ken @LisaLimAhKen1 - IOM Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change in the East and Horn of Africa 

Pablo Escribano @pescribanoIOM - IOM Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change in the Americas

Sabira Coelho @sabiracoelho - IOM Programme Manager on Migration, Environment and Climate Change in the Pacific

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Newsletter editors: Ileana Sînziana Pușcaș, Project Officer and Martina Castiglioni, Intern, IOM MECC

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