Environmental Migration Newsletter
Knowledge Platform on People on the Move in a Changing Climate
July-August 2020

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Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Updates

António Vitorino, IOM Director General, answers the question: 
"How is the International Organization for Migration contributing to address the challenges of disaster displacement?"
Visit our new IOM Environmental Migration Portal!
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Members of the Task Force on Displacement © IOM 2019
IOM Participates in the Fourth Meeting of the
UNFCCC Task Force on Displacement

7 to 9 September 2020
by Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, IOM MECC
IOM, through its MECC Division, participated in the 4th (virtual) meeting of the Task Force on Displacement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Task Force on Displacement has 14 members, including IFRC, ILO, IOM, PDD, UNDP, UNHCR, a Civil Society Advisory Group, several UNFCCC groups (NGO constituency group ‘Youth NGOs’, Adaptation Committee, Least Developed Countries Expert Group), and 4 Members of the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

IOM is a standing member of the Task Force, one of the most important space for policy discussions on climate migration. The Organization was invited to report on the 8 activities it leads on under the current Task Force Plan of Action as well as other relevant MECC activities worldwide.
© IOM 2020
Pacific Climate Change Migration and
Human Security Programme Updates
July 2020
by Sabira Coelho, IOM Suva
The Technical Advisory Group (TAG), established under the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) programme held four webinars in the month of July. Formed in December, the main purpose of the TAG is to support the PCCMHS programme by providing technical advice on key policy, legal and human rights issues in the context of climate change and migration that will inform and shape regional and national consultations. The TAG comprises experts on the Pacific region from governments, civil society organisations, academia, faith-based organisations, private sector, youth representatives and other stakeholders.

The webinars culminated in key messages for Governments to consider during their Regional Policy Dialogue, underway from September to December, in framing a regional response to climate change related migration, displacement and planned relocation. In summary, the TAG broadly agreed that: 
  • Scientific findings on climate change and its impacts show that climate change and disasters interact with other, economic, social, and political drivers (or stressors) of mobility.
  • Although international human rights law lays out clear obligations with respect to all migrants and all those affected by climate change, the current laws and policies, specifically those focused on climate mobility, demonstrate significant gaps.
  • With this in mind, potential solutions need to be discussed at all political levels and across sectors. There needs to be political will at the regional level to discuss and address climate mobility.
  • The conversation is a difficult one for the Pacific because of political sensitivities, but it needs to be held now so proper planning can take place to avoid ad hoc responses.
COVID-19, Fast Forward to the Point of No Return:
Peace building in Madagascar
by Daniel Silva y Poveda
IOM is partnering with the European Commission during the EU Green Week to host an online expert discussion on “The Search for Greener Pastures: Exploring the Relationship Between Nature, Biodiversity and Migration” on 21 October 2020. The event will bring together a diverse panel of experts to answer questions regarding the role of migration in the European Green Deal, with a special focus on nature and biodiversity. 
© IOM 2020
Migration and the European Green Deal
by Katy Barwise and Lizzy Linklater, IOM Brussels,
and Soumyadeep Banerjee, IOM Vienna

The European Green Deal is the flagship policy framework of the new European Commission. It will impact all aspects of the European economy, including energy, transport, construction, food and agriculture. The EU aims to decouple economic growth from resource use to transition to a green and circular economy that ensures net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a 50 per cent reduction of emissions by 2030.

Many migrants in Europe, are at a greater risk of being socio-economically disadvantaged and more likely to be exposed to environmental stressors, such as poor indoor air quality, heat and cold stress, noise and air pollution. In addition, migration – as recognised in global policy frameworks - can be an accelerator of development, and an adaptation strategy for households and communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Recognising the key role that migrants play in the sectors which will be impacted by the transition – especially agriculture and fisheries, energy, and manufacturing and construction – could greatly support the advancement of the Deal.
Read more
© IOM  2020
Working to Reduce the Risk and Impact of
Disaster Displacement in the Pacific 
by Hassan El Maaroufi, IOM Suva

At least 50,000 Pacific Islanders are at risk of being displaced by disasters each year; however, the lack of data and experience on disaster displacement has prevented governments from adopting durable solutions to deal with the impacts of future natural hazards.

With funding from the European Union, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in partnership with IOM, and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), are implementing a project to strengthen disaster planning, policy responses, and operational tools in the Pacific small island developing states. 

The aim of the Pacific Response to Disaster Displacement (PRDD) project is to support regional and national efforts to reduce the risk and impact of disaster displacement on persons at risk of being displaced, by increasing governments' knowledge and monitoring capacity on the issue. To achieve this, over a period of three years, the partners will provide support on data collection, research and policy, risk modelling, and tools and training. 
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Cada año, las tensiones ambientales llevan a millones de personas en todo el mundo a tomar la decisión de migrar. Sin embargo, los movimientos relacionados con las tensiones ambientales se han reducido en gran medida a raíz de las restricciones a la movilidad impuestas por los gobiernos en respuesta a la COVID-19.Ya es suficientemente complejo migrar sin una pandemia, ¿por qué alguien decidiría migrar durante el brote de COVID-19?
Destruction in Dominica after the passage of hurricane Maria in 2017. © IOM  2017
IOM Launches New Project to Build Better Data and Evidence on Environmental Migration in the Eastern Caribbean
July 2020
by Pablo Escribano, IOM San José

Due to the high exposure of Eastern Caribbean countries to natural hazards and the adverse impacts of climate change, different patterns of human mobility associated with climate drivers have been registered in recent years. This includes evacuations and displacement in disaster settings – such as the 2017 hurricane season – but also more voluntary forms of mobility and planned relocation processes.

However, available data and evidence on this subject remains limited, hampering the policymaking efforts of countries in the region. In order to overcome this challenge, IOM, in collaboration with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, is launching a new project funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enhance the governance of human mobility related to environmental change through improved evidence and regional cooperation.

The intervention targets six countries: Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centers (GMDAC), based in Berlin, supports the initiative providing technical expertise on migration data and evidence. Over 15 months, the intervention will assess local capacities to produce and manage environmental migration data, support improvements in national systems and build a regional dialogue on these issues.

For more information, please contact IOM Dominica.
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Linkages between Climate Change, Deforestation and Labour Exploitation in the Spotlight in Brazil
14 July 2020, online
by Pablo Escribano, IOM San José

In the framework of a series of online discussions on multiple angles of human trafficking, the Brazilian Association for the Defense of Women, Children and Youth (ASBRAD in Portuguese) organized on 14 July a conversation on the linkages between climate change processes and labour exploitation with participation from RESAMA, Greenpeace, the Brazilian Labour Ministry, and IOM.

The meeting enabled discussions around the impact of environmental degradation in the livelihoods of vulnerable populations and their exposure to different forms of labour exploitation. Focusing on the Brazilian situation, it was discussed how the combined impact of climate change and man-made degradation, linked with deforestation and the advance of the agricultural frontier, exacerbate vulnerabilities. The situation of indigenous communities deserves a specific attention given their reliance on their natural environment, the challenging transferability of their skills and the prevalence of labour exploitation patterns.
Watch the webinar (PT)
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.
Latest articles in the IOM Blog Series on "The COVID-19 Pandemic, Migration and the Environment":
2. Connecting planetary health, environmental changes and migration in times of pandemic by François Gemenne, Anneliese Depoux and Stefanie Schütte

4. Climate change adaptation under pressure by Emily Wright and Dennis Tänzler, adelphi
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

Research Database Updates

L’avenir des villes face aux migrations climatiques
Recompositions des espaces urbains dans les Amériques
Santé et mobilité face au climat, quelles synergies ?
Evicted by Climate Change: Confronting the Gendered Impacts of Climate-Induced Displacement
Search the database

Upcoming Events

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 75th Session | 17 September - 5 October 2020 

Berlin Climate and Security Conference 2020 - Migration and Displacement in the Context of Climate Change: A Sustaining Peace Approach | 24 September 2020

UNGA: Youth Perspectives on Climate Migration | 24 September 2020

Cross-Border Human Mobility and Human Rights in the Context of Disasters, Climate Change and Environmental Degradation | 24 September 2020

Summit on Biodiversity | 30 September 2020 

Climate Change and Human Migration | 9 October 2020

The Search for Greener Pastures: Exploring the Relationship between Nature, Biodiversity and Migration | 21 October 2020
See events

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Copyright © 2020. International Organization for Migration. All rights reserved.
Newsletter editors: Ileana Sînziana Pușcaș, Project Officer, and Iulia Duca, Consultant, IOM MECC

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