People on the Move in a Changing Climate: Linking Policy, Evidence and Action

The high mountains of Central Asia are every bit as prone to climate change as low-lying coastal areas. Photo Victor Lacken/IOM2020

COP27 is the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and it is presided by the Government of Egypt. The Conference is scheduled to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 - 18 November 2022.

COP27 represents a key political moment for states to reaffirm their ambition and accelerate action toward to fully operationalizing the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

The COP27 Presidency has defined the following goals

  • Mitigation: limit global warming to well below 2c and work hard to keep the 1.5 c target alive. 
  • Adaptation: The Global Goal on Adaptation as one of the significant outcomes of COP26 - ensure that COP27 makes the crucially needed progress and urge all parties to demonstrate the necessary political will to capture and assess progress towards enhancing resilience and assist the most vulnerable communities; witness enhanced global agenda for action on adaptation.
  • Finance: make significant progress on the crucial issue of climate finance while moving forward on all finance related items on the agenda.
  • Colaboration: Enhance and facilitate agreement in the negotiations.

Climate Migration at COP27

The science is clear. According to IPCC Sixth Assessment Report climate change affects us all “the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events have adversely affected, or caused the loss of ecosystems including terrestrial, freshwater, ocean and coastal ecosystems, including tropical coral reefs; reduced food security; contributed to migration and displacement; damaged livelihoods, health and security of people; and increased inequality.”

Disasters alone led to 23.7 million internal displacements in 2021, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s Global Report. And, without climate action the Groundswell Report 2021, has projected that up to 216 million people across six regions could move within their countries by 2050:

  • By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 86 million internal climate migrants;
  • By 2050, East Asia and the Pacific, could see as many as 49 million internal climate migrants;
  • By 2050, South Asia, could see as many as 40 million internal climate migrants;
  • By 2050, North Africa, could see as many as 19 million internal climate migrants;
  • By 2050, Latin America, could see as many as 17 million internal climate migrants;
  • By 2050, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, could see as many as 5 million internal climate migrants.

With urgent action, these numbers could be reduced by as much as 80%, to 44 million people by 2050 (World Bank, 2021).

Ahead of COP27, IOM releases the report "People on the Move in a Changing Climate – Linking Policy, Evidence and Action." Drawing on IOM existing knowledge and the experience of working with governments, other UN agencies and partners at global, regional, national and local level, the report highlights the main aspects of human mobility in contexts of climate change from a policy perspective and charts a path forward based on recommendations and practical examples to guide future action.

And, IOM calls to:

  1. Ensure that human mobility linked to climate hazards is recognised and well addressed at local, national, regional and international levels through dedicated climate change and migration policies with whole-ofgovernment approaches, in line with the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the Global Compact for Migration, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  2. Increase action for climate change adaptation measures, and resources to avert and minimize displacement, when and where it is still possible, and strengthen people’s resilience. Include human mobility within adaptation and loss and damage plans and policies with action on both slowonset processes and sudden-onset hazards, considering planning processes and integrated approaches to disaster risk reduction, preparedness, humanitarian assistance, human security and development.
  3. Strengthen solidarity with countries and people most vulnerable to climate change impacts, facilitating their access to just transition processes, as well as significantly scaled up sustainable and predictable finance for adaptation and resilience, including addressing climate change-related human mobility.
  4. Enhance the inclusive mobilization of the whole society, associating public and private partners, civil society, women, youth, indigenous peoples, migrants, displaced persons and affected communities to decision-making processes related to climate change and migration, including via integrated human rights, child-sensitive and gender-responsive approaches for migration management and climate change action.
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy