In search of shelter: mapping the effects of climate change on human migration and displacement
The paper indicates that climate change is already contributing to displacement and migration. Although economic and political factors are the dominant drivers of displacement and migration today, climate change is already having a detectable effect. It shows that the effect of climate change is evident in the increased frequency and intensity of natural hazards such as cyclones, floods, and droughts, glacier melt and decreasing water flows. If this is not controlled it will lead a rise in the number of temporarily displaced people.
The authors use original maps to illustrate how, and where, the impacts of climate change may prompt significant displacement and migration. Presenting recent country case studies, the paper looks at current patterns of climate change and migration from major river trends in Asia, drying trends in Central America and Western Africa to flooding and sea level rise in major deltas of the world, and sea level rise in low-lying Small Island developing states.
Policy recommendations given in the report are:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels
- protect the dignity and basic rights of persons displaced by climate change
- increase people’s resilience to the impacts of climate change so that fewer are forced to migrate. This will be done through investment in insitu adaptation measures, the empowerment of the marginalised social groups and inclusive, transparent, and accountable adaptation planning with the participation of vulnerable populations.
- establish mechanisms and binding commitments to ensure that adaptation funding reaches the people that need it most
- recognise and facilitate the role that migration will inevitably play in individual, household and national adaptation strategies
- integrate climate change into existing international and national frameworks for dealing with displacement and migration
- strengthen the capacity of national and international institutions to protect the rights of persons displaced by climate change.