Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Updates
IOM Member States were briefed on the phases of addressing the migration, environment and climate change nexus at the last session of IOM's Standing Committee on Programmes and Finance. Great interest and support came from States and regional groups on IOM continuing this work.
The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction Calls for Reducing Disaster Displacement Risk
by Daria Mokhnacheva, IOM MECC
The Sixth Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 13-17 May 2019, bringing together around 4,000 disaster risk reduction experts and stakeholders from 182 countries to share their experiences and knowledge and to review progress made towards reducing disaster risk worldwide.
Disaster displacement was high on the agenda with a dedicated working session on disaster displacement and disaster risk reduction, and numerous side events and awareness raising efforts led by actors engaging in displacement and migration management, such as IOM, NRC/IDMC, PDD, UNHCR and many others. The striking figures of disaster displacement (17.2 million people newly displaced by disasters in 2018, according to the IDMC) were repeatedly cited by speakers at GP2019 high-level panels throughout the week.
With the fast approaching deadline for achieving Target (e) of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction to substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020, and with new evidence of increasingly complex, ever-growing risks threatening our very survival, a sense of urgency pervaded the discussions. The importance of accelerated, innovative, collective action breaking away from traditional fragmented governance approaches to disasters, climate change and sustainable development was highlighted throughout the high level dialogues, working sessions and side events.
Caribbean Migration Consultations on Human Mobility in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change
6-7 June 2019, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
by Pablo Escribano, IOM San José
IOM partnered with the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and UNHCR to organize a two-day conference under the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC) to discuss challenges in addressing human mobility in the context of disasters and climate change in the Caribbean. The event gathered 18 Caribbean countries and territories and 12 international and regional organizations, as well as a series of observer institutions.
The discussion focused on gaps, good practices as well as priorities related to the various angles of the migration, environment and climate change nexus, such as helping people stay in their communities and preventing forced migration; supporting and addressing the needs of displaced populations; and leveraging human mobility to build resilience and promote climate change adaptation.
As a main outcome of the conference, different representatives from Caribbean governments and regional organizations agreed to form a working group to elevate the conference recommendations and priorities into a draft Caribbean plan of action on human mobility in the context of disasters and climate change to be endorsed at the CMC level.
by Julia Blocher, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
While migration – as other social phenomena – is multi-causal, climate change impacts such as persistent droughts are becoming a significant driver for internal movements in Tanzania. This and other topics were discussed in a research workshop in Tanzania organized by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), a leading research institution supported by the Federal Government of Germany. It was the second workshop held in Tanzania for the ‘East Africa, Peru, India Climate Capacities’ (EPICC) project headed by PIK. The two-day event served as a forum for an exchange of expertise and brought together nearly 40 representatives of research institutions, ministries, other national bodies, civil society, and the private sector. The IOM Tanzania’s Chief of Mission, Qasim Sufi, and Rueben Mbugi of the Programme Coordination Unit, participated in the workshop. IOM is supporting the research conducted by PIK in Tanzania as well as working globally in partnership in other project countries.
Participants and project partners discussed ways in which the EPICC research project may contribute to efforts to deliver on Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025. Climate-smart development in line with Tanzania’s Development Vision requires state-of-the-art scientific information, for example on the impacts of climate change on water resources, agriculture and migration. Moreover, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of different adaptation options under climate change. The EPICC project, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), generates this type of information jointly between German and Tanzanian scientists and translates it for national and local policymakers and practitioners.
IOM commemorated the 2019 World Environment Day and brought light to stories of environmental migration in Mozambique, Somalia and Mongolia.
Addressing Climate and Environmental Change and Human Mobility at the Climate Change Conference
28 June, Bonn, Germany
by Andrea Milan, IOM GMDAC
An International Conference and Networking Event on "Climate and Environmental Change and Human Mobility” was held at the margins of the last climate change conference in Bonn. The rich discussions focused on risks and challenges as well as best practices and policy options in the field of migration, environment and climate change (MECC). These discussions will inform the finalization of three research papers that Adelphi, an independent think tank and public policy consultancy firm, and IOM are producing as part of the “Environmental degradation, climate change and migration: global review of research and forecasts” project. Despite the remaining knowledge gaps, participants agreed on the need for concrete policy action in the area of climate change and migration. They identified a number of entry points for policy interventions related to climate change adaptation, disaster management and migration policy, and they discussed ways in which these policy interventions could be linked and coordinated.
The event was organized by Adelphi, the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ) and IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and was attended by 92 participants, including approximately 50 from the Global South. IOM was represented by Dr. Susanne Melde who presented the main outcomes of the Adelphi-IOM research project, Dr. Andrea Milan who moderated a parallel session on migration policy where Dr. Soumyadeep Banerjee, MECC Regional Thematic Specialist for South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, shared introductory remarks to shape the discussion, and Ms. Mariam Traore Chazalnoël, MECC Specialist and IOM’s focal point for the UNFCCC, gave closing remarks.
UN Economic and Social Council Calls for Multi-level Cooperation in Preparing for Climate Change
25 June, Geneva, Switzerland
by Tanya Omolo, IOM MECC
One of this year’s high-level thematic panels at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS), “Preparing for the future in the face of climate change and weather-related disasters: strengthening preparedness and humanitarian response and collaborating to build resilience and address escalating risks and challenges,” discussed, inter alia, the links between migration and climate change and weather-related disasters. In preparation for the UN Climate Action Summit this September, the discussion emphasized the importance and necessity of mobilizing the international community to take immediate climate action through cooperation and partnerships between humanitarian organizations and States. Investing in resilience-building was also a key recommendation, with panelists highlighting the importance of minimizing forced migration due to climate change as a focus point in climate action. Strengthening local resilience and capacity through development planning, early warning systems and improved infrastructure to protect populations who cannot move is needed.
Focused more specifically on displacement and disasters, the side-event, “Addressing Internal Displacement Associated with Disasters and Conflict: Planning for the Long Haul,” emphasized the need for durable programming and strong coordination among various stakeholders, including local authorities and communities and IDPs themselves. The panel also called attention to the utility of strengthening data collection on internal displacement to allow policymakers to close knowledge gaps and asses the growing scale and impact of disasters on displacement. The side-event took place under the auspices of the GP20 Plan of Action, the three-year multi-stakeholder initiative honoring the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and was co-sponsored by the GP20 Plan of Action partners, including IOM, and by the Platform on Disaster Displacement..
IOM encouraged the new Finnish Presidency of the EU Council to advance a long-term EU budget that promotes orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration as key to sustainable development in countries of destination, origin and transit, including by addressing the complex nexus of environment, climate change and migration.
Cuba National Workshop on Human Mobility as a Response to Environmental Degradation, Risks and the Impact of Climate Change
23-24 May 2019, Havana, Cuba
by Pablo Escribano, IOM San José
The Cuban Environment Agency (AMA by its Spanish acronym) organized together with IOM a two-day workshop focused on identifying opportunities to enhance the governance of environmental migration on the island. Cuba is exposed to multiple hazards and environmental degradation processes and has identified climate change adaptation as a priority for the future.
The meeting enabled stakeholders from various departments to discuss their contributions and the challenges they face in the governance of environmental migration. Presentations from statistical and research institutions showcased the wealth of information collected on environment and climate issues and internal migration as well as the need to develop synergies to better understand environmental mobility. From a climate change perspective, Cuba has developed strong coordination mechanisms for a long-term resilience strategy, which requires a stronger integration of mobility perspectives including issues like forced disaster displacement and planned relocation.
Stakeholders identified opportunities to move forward with the development of a cooperative approach to building statistical evidence on the migration, environment and climate change nexus by putting together existing mechanisms (surveys, census, vulnerability studies) and adding missing bridges to tackle environmental migration. In terms of planned relocation, government actors noted the need to enhance the governance of the process through potential guidelines or protocols based on existing initiatives and good practices. Finally, representatives from the emergency response sector highlighted the importance of strengthening disaster preparedness through prepositioning of relief items and capacity building for first responders.
The Integration of Human Mobility in Climate Agendas of the Americas: Needs and Opportunities
Following in the footsteps of global processes, such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the recommendations of the Task Force on Displacement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Sustainable Development Goals, countries of the Americas have progressed in mainstreaming human mobility in climate change plans and strategies.
IOM and the UNFCCC Regional Coordination Center in Panama have partnered to analyze to what extent countries in the Americas have managed to integrate human mobility in their climate change plans. The study concludes that, while some countries are more advanced than others, there is still a need to progress on policy development. In particular, advancing the implementation of concrete activities to address the impact of climate change on migration drivers is needed as well as the protection of environmental migrants. The publication includes a tentative list of potential opportunities for new initiatives on this issue, considering existing policy processes and national priorities.