Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change

Recommendations from the Advisory Group on Climate Change and Human Mobility

The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-­‐EHS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Norwegian Refugee Council and its Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Refugees International, the Center for International Relations Studies de Sciences Po (Sciences Po-­‐CERI), and the Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED)

In line with UNFCCC Paragraph 14(f) of the Cancun Decision 1/CP.16 and Doha decision 3/CP.18 paragraph 7 (a) (vi) that acknowledge the need for enhanced understanding and action in the area of climate change induced displacement, migration and planned relocation;

In line with the IPCC’s Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report that recognized that the movement of people is intrinsically linked to climate change and is expected to increase in the future;

In line with Paragraph 14 and the outcome document of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 agenda that states that more frequent and intense natural disasters and forced displacement of people threaten to reverse much of the development progress made in recent decades and includes a commitment to “cooperate internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration” that respects the rights of displaced people, migrants and refugees, and affords them humane treatment;

In line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-­‐2030, States need to prepare for “ensuring rapid and effective response to disasters and related displacement, including access to safe shelter, essential food and non-­‐food relief supplies”;

In line with the recommendations of the Nansen Initiative Agenda for the Protection of Cross-­‐Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change that was endorsed by 114 countries on 14 October 2015 in Geneva (see map bellow), with the wide majority of delegations that made statements calling for Paris COP-­‐21 to include Human Mobility;

The Advisory Group on Climate change and Human Mobility recommends that the Paris COP 21 Agreement and COP decision:

1.       Includes reference to human mobility in the text of the Agreement and COP decision.

2.       Recognizes the need to prevent or reduce climate change displacement risk.

3.       Recognizes the need to take into account human mobility in policies that manage the full range of societal impacts of climate change (mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage policies).

4.       Strongly encourages States to take measures, including in their National Adaptation Plans, in close consultation with communities at risk of displacement, to prevent and reduce forced internal and cross-­‐border displacement in the context of climate change by: 

a.       Increasing the resilience of affected populations to enable them to remain where they live if they choose to do so,
b.      Strengthening the resilience of communities that have to move or are already displaced, as well as the communities that host them
c.       Planning for and facilitating voluntary internal and cross-­‐border migration as an adaptation strategy, and
d.      As an adaptation measure of last resort, plan for informed, consulted, participatory relocation

 5.       Recognizes that human mobility measures within national and regional climate change adaptation plans, policies and strategies may require adaptation funding, including from the operating entities of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC supporting both adaptation and loss and damage as well as and other funding mechanism.

In order to address these challenges and gaps, and to promote and facilitate the implementation of identified effective practices on reducing vulnerability and building resilience to displacement risk, the following key actions are suggested:

  • Developing guidance, and providing technical and capacity building support to national and local authorities, and (sub-­‐)regional organizations to include human mobility considerations within climate change adaptation strategies and policies, including through collaboration, as appropriate, with UNFCCC bodies and processes.
  • With reference to Paragraph 14(f) of the Cancun Decision 1/CP.16 and to Doha decision 3/CP.18 paragraph 7 (a) (vi) continuing to consider the issues of displacement, migration and planned relocation within on-­‐going activities of the Conferences of Parties to the UNFCCC including inter alia NAPs, Adaptation Committee, Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism, and the Nairobi Work Programme.

  • Ensuring that access to funding is secured and facilitated to finance human mobility related measures within local, national and regional climate change adaptation, resilience building, and disaster risk management plans and activities, including from the operating entities of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC.


    On the Draft agreement and draft decision on workstreams 1 and 2 of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, version of 20 October 2015@13:30hrs, the Advisory Group

  • Article 5 paragraph 6: the Advisory Group stands ready to provide technical support to Parties regarding the establishment of a climate change displacement coordination facility to help coordinate efforts to address the displacement of people as a result of the extreme impacts of climate change. 

  • Recommends guidance from this paper to be incorporated in the Article 4 on adaptation and in other relevant articles and preamble, the Advisory Group stands ready to provide specific text suggestions.