Environmental Migration Newsletter 
Special Edition, May 2021

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Special Edition on the International Dialogue on Migration 2021
© IOM 2021
First Session of the International Dialogue on Migration 2021
Accelerating integrated action on sustainable development:
migration, the environment and climate change

25-27 May 2021, Zoom, 9:00-12:00 (EST)

A message from Dina Ionesco,
Head of the IOM Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division

Twenty years ago, IOM launched the International Dialogue on Migration (IDM), the first ever multilateral policy dialogue to bring together states and non-state actors to discuss migration governance and practice. 

In 2001, the IDM celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Organization and looked back at IOM's work since 1951 to support both governments and migrants. The first IDM was organized in the context of the tragic events of 11 September 2001 in the United States, which profoundly influenced international migratory trends. 

We are now twenty years later, celebrating IOM's 70th anniversary. Once again, the world faces another crisis and the devastating impacts of a global pandemic on internal and international mobility patterns. Over the past twenty years, migration in the context of climate change and environmental degradation has emerged as one of the most defining realities of our times. Once little visible, the climate and migration nexus is now in the spotlight. IOM has been constantly advocating for greater awareness and knowledge on this immense challenge, including through our biannual IDM.

Recognizing the need to advance research and policy, and promote a more human and effective management of migration in a changing climate, IOM and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized a two-day Expert Seminar on Migration and the Environment in Bangkok, Thailand, as part of the 2007 IDM

Four years later, the IOM membership selected the topic "Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration" as the focus of an IDM workshop in Geneva, Switzerland on 29 and 30 March 2011

The 2011 workshop identified key areas where increased capacity was needed to manage the complex interactions between climate change, environmental degradation and human mobility. The workshop also highlighted the need to develop wide-ranging partnerships bringing together many different expertise. The 2011 event outlined three main recommendations that have since then guided IOM’s work: building knowledge and improving data collection; strengthening policy, institutional, administrative and legal frameworks, notably regional approaches; and reinforcing operational and technical capacities.

In 2015, IOM created a dedicated Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Division to institutionalize IOM's longstanding engagement in this thematic area since the early 1990s.

It is thus timely, in 2021, to take stock of the advances made ten years after the last IDM devoted to the climate and migration nexus. We need to look back and learn from past and current developments if we are to be better equipped to prepare for the future. Later this year, IOM will launch its new institutional strategy on migration, environment and climate change. This document will guide our action for the next decade.

The first 2021 session of the IDM will offer a space to discuss some of the key dimensions of the climate and migration nexus, such as developing synergies between the implementation of relevant international and regional frameworks, integrating migration and climate questions in COVID-19 recovery efforts, leveraging migrants’ contributions to climate action and identifying challenges faced by countries most vulnerable to climate impacts.

This session will examine how upcoming international forums, such as the 2021 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP26) in 2021, and the 2022 International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), can best integrate migration, environment and climate change issues in their work programmes, and enhance synergies and partnerships across policy areas.

IOM is more than ever committed to foster greater cooperation and enhance cross-sectoral partnerships to develop and implement collective actions that concretely address the increasingly complex and interconnected migration challenges of today.

For more information:
Download the event agenda and concept note
Read the press release
Visit the IOM International Dialogue on Migration Website and IOM Environmental Migration Portal.
Register here

Relevant Publications

Panel 1: The Road to COP 26- Accelerating action to address migration and displacement in the context of climate and environmental change 
  1. World Migration Report 2020, Chapter 9 “Human mobility and adaptation to environmental change”
  2. The Atlas of Environmental Migration
  3. IOM Outlook on Migration, Environment and Climate Change
  4. Addressing the Land Degradation – Migration Nexus: The Role of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
  5. Internal Displacement in the Context of the Slow-Onset Adverse Effects of Climate Change
  6. Mapping Human Mobility (Migration, Displacement and Planned Relocation) and Climate Change in International Processes, Policies and Legal Frameworks
  7. Mapping Human Mobility and Climate Change in Relevant National Policies and Institutional Frameworks
  8. Environmental Migrants and Global Governance: Facts, Policies and Practices
Panel 2: Understanding the linkages between the migration, environment and climate change (MECC) and migration health in the context of COVID-19, and promoting the inclusion of MECC dimensions in COVID-19 recovery efforts
  1. COVID-19 Pandemic, Environment and Migration Blog Series
  2. Climate Change, Environmental Migration and the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. Health and Migration, Environment and Climate Change
  4. Lancet Climate Change Commission: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change
  5. Lancet Migration Health Commission
Panel 3: Examining the linkage between Migration, Environment and Climate Change and the Humanitarian, Development, Peace Nexus (HDPN)
  1. IOM and the Sendai Framework: A Global Review of IOM’s Contributions to Strengthening Disaster Resilience
  2. Advancing Gender Equality in Environmental Migration and Disaster Displacement in the Caribbean
Panel 4: Developing multi-stakeholder approaches to leverage opportunities and support the inclusion of migrants and internally displaced people to build a sustainable future
  1. Migration and Agroecology in West Africa
  2. Guidance for mainstreaming environmental and climate considerations into reintegration programming
Panel 5: Promoting and supporting local and regional action on migration, environment and climate change
  1. Climate Change and Migration in Vulnerable Countries: A snapshot of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States
  2. La movilidad humana en la agenda climática de las Américas: Necesidades y Oportunidades
  3. Asia-Pacific Policy Brief- Recommendations on managing risk and addressing disaster displacement: Challenges, effective practices and solutions
  4. Étude sur les opportunités de création d`emplois favorisant l`adaptation des territoires au changement climatique pour les migrants de retour au Sénégal

Relevant Links

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Newsletter editors: Ileana Sînziana Pușcaș, Project Officer, and Iulia Elisabeta Duca, Project Support Officer, IOM Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division, Geneva, Switzerland

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