11-13 July 2023, Hotel Bengal Blueberry, Dhaka
There is no universally agreed definition of climate-induced displacement and migration, but broadly, it refers to the movement of people driven by sudden or progressive changes in the weather or climate. This can include temporary and permanent, seasonal and singular, as well as voluntary and forced movement.
A study by ActionAid and Climate Action Network South Asia projects that even if the global community acts on their greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation pledges and targets, about 37.5 million people will still be displaced by 2030 and an estimated 62.9 million by 2050 within the five South Asian countries. India alone will see 45 million people being forced to migrate from their homes by 2050 due to climate disasters, three times more than the present figures. Current global pledges and targets see us on track for between 2.1°C and 3.3°C.
Climate change has contributed to melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, and desertification. It has led to more frequent and stronger weather-related extremes such as storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires. Threats to people’s lives, physical and mental health, food and economic security are, however, unevenly distributed and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. Generally, countries with fewer resources and people in precarious situations bear a disproportionate burden.
Climate-induced migration and displacement is falling between the policy gaps. Existing international frameworks and national policies are yet to make the crucial link between climate change impact on the frequency and intensity of extreme climate events, environmental degradation, and human mobility.
This is partly because although migration and climate change have a significant relationship, it is extremely difficult to disentangle and quantify. However, it is clear that the number of climate-induced migrants will increase.
Global agreement to address climate-induced migration and displacement is needed. A comprehensive approach would address the need for assistance, protection and durable solutions for those displaced by climate change, manage climate risks for those remaining and support opportunities for voluntary migrants adapting to climate change.