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Document Abstract
Published: 2016

Climate-induced migration and displacement: closing the policy gap

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Some credible recommendations on how to manage climate-induced migration and displacement have emerged in recent years, yet overall, the international policy response is incomplete. In particular, there is no comprehensive international framework or set of national policy instruments for addressing climate-induced migration (whether ‘forced’ or ‘voluntary’) where extensive risk is increasing. This is problematic, as it is likely to be an important driver of migration in the future. An emphasis on the potential benefits of migration as an adaptation strategy is also lacking. This briefing explores climate-induced migration and displacement, as seen to be falling between the policy gaps.

Key messages:

  • 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 numbers of climate-induced migrants will increase
  • global agreement to address climate-induced migration and displacement is needed, but the political obstacles are significant. Governments prefer bilateral solutions to cross-border migration and displacement, and tend to discourage internal rural-to-urban migration
  • a global compact on migration could fill in the policy gaps on climate-induced migration and displacement. 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
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