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Collective Actions to Minimize Mass Migration and Displacement Due to Climate Change

Recognizing that climate change is a risk multiplier for displacement and migration, and that millions of people throughout the world will be impacted by climate-induced displacement unless immediate action is taken, today, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) jointly called for more action around climate induced migration and displacement.

Participants reflected on the need for immediate climate action today (14/11) at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) side-event focusing on Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change: Building a Positive Narrative on Migration and Climate Action, held at the CFV Pavilion, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The event was jointly organized by GoB, IOM and CVF.

The event brought together high-level representatives from State Party delegations, development partners, international organizations, academia, and Civil Societies to explore issues of human mobility in the context of global climate change negotiations.

COP27 represents an opportunity for States to proactively address the impact of climate change on human mobility. During the plenary, GoB, IOM and CVF representatives all recognized that human mobility challenges have serious implications on the rights and entitlements of individuals and communities.

According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021, 216 million people could become internal climate migrants by 2050.

With a population of 165 million and high susceptibility to flooding, storm surges, riverbank erosion and salination, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change. Bangladesh is also at the forefront of climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction and management efforts, as well as consensus building through different regional and global fora and platforms.

Speaking at the event Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Bangladesh Foreign Minister, noted that climate change drives migration and displacement. “The global community must recall that the Paris Agreement acknowledged that climate change is a threat to millions of people, and vulnerable countries must be taken into account,” he said.

While strong global action is needed to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting future temperature increases to less than 1.5°C by the end of this century, there is also an urgent need for countries to integrate climate migration into national development plans and national policies.

Ugochi Daniels, IOM’s Deputy Director General for Operations, stressed the growing link between human mobility and climate change. She emphasized that international cooperation and collective action are preconditions to managing the mobility and ensuring that migration remains a choice and not a necessity.

Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, Republic of Uganda joined virtually and highlighted the pertinent points from the Kampala Declaration on displacement.

Participants noted that concerted action on climate change mitigation and adaptation, together with inclusive development policies and embedding of climate migration in policy and planning, will help address some challenges around climate migration. Policy decisions made today will shape the extent the effects of climate change impact the lives of migrants and their families.

H.E. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Special Envoy of Ghana, Presidency of CVF; Ms. Caroline Dumas- IOM’s Special Envoy for Migration and Climate Action, Mr. Ivan Delgado, Coordinator of the Adaptation Area, Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Republic of Costa Rica, and Mr. Atle Solberg, Head of Secretariat, Platform on Disaster Displacement participated in a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Matthew McKinnon, Senior Advisor, CVF-V20 & Strategy at Global Center on Adaptation. A video message was also provided by Ms. Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Founding Leadership Board Member, Mayors Migration Council.