Climate change has become a major underlying driver of human mobility around the world. Existing patterns of migration are shaped or broadened by the impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, and environmental degradation and slow-onset processes.
Under the UNFCCC process, the thematic area of climate change and human mobility is acknowledged in the Paris Agreement, which references the rights of migrants in its Preamble. It is also addressed through the strategic workstream on human mobility of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts, as well as through the adoption of Decision 1/CP.21 to create a dedicated Task Force on Displacement.
Human mobility in the context of climate change needs to be addressed in a cross-cutting manner and integrated into relevant policy and planning processes on all levels. Countries, communities, and households are faced with serious challenges related to migration, displacement, and relocation that can impact livelihoods, physical and mental health and wellbeing, development efforts, education, social cohesion and protection, coping capacities, gender equality, integration of youth, multi-stakeholder coordination, and resilience-building.
SLYCAN Trust’s new briefing note analyzes the degree to which countries have integrated different dimensions of human mobility into their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. With 87 parties submitting revised and updated NDCs to the UNFCCC Secretariat in 2020 and 2021 so far (up to 31.05.2021), SLYCAN Trust has assessed the number of references as well as concrete provisions related to migration, disaster displacement, and planned relocation in these NDCs.
Key findings include the fact that there seems to be a higher rate of inclusion of human mobility considerations in the revised or updated NDCs submitted in 2020/2021, with 29% of analyzed NDCs referring to human mobility in some form. Out of these, 64% refer to displacement, 56% to migration, and 48% to planned relocation, with the highest number of concrete provisions related to planned relocation.
If this rate remains similar once additional NDCs have been submitted, it would be a considerable increase compared to the first round of submissions, highlighting human mobility in the context of climate change as an important issue to focus on in the lead-up to COP26 for many countries around the world, particularly developing countries in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia.
Dennis Mombauer currently lives in Colombo as a freelance writer and researcher on climate change and education. He focuses on ecosystem-based adaptation and sustainable urban development as well as on autism spectrum disorder in the field of education. Besides articles and research, he has published numerous works of fiction in German and English.