There has been an emergence of human migration as a result of the damaging effects of climate change.
Known as climate refugees or environmental migrants, these are groups of people that have been directly affected by climate change to the extent that it has necessitated moving elsewhere.
According to the World Migration Report (2020) , at the end of 2018, there were 17.2 million displacements caused by natural disasters – compared to 10.8 million caused by conflict and violence.
After many years of lobbying and raising awareness, climate change is now at the forefront of issues facing humanity. Governments are prioritising this immense, multifaceted challenge and regarding it as an existential threat. However, weather patterns have already changed and will continue to worsen. Sudden-onset extreme events such as Mozambique’s Cyclone Idai, Australia’s recent bushfires and East Africa’s locust plague are set to become more commonplace as global temperatures increase.
In 2015, the Teitiota family applied for refugee status in New Zealand, fleeing the disappearing island nation of Kiribati. Their case, the first request for refugee status explicitly attributed to climate change, made it to the High Court of New Zealand and the family was subsequently deported from New Zealand.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has just ruled that it is unlawful for governments to return people to countries where their lives might be threatened by the climate crisis. The judgment relates to the Ioane Teitiota case. Even though his case was ruled against on the basis that his life was not at imminent risk, it has set a precedent that recognises the rights of climate migrants.
Urban metropolises which traditionally attract immigrants will start to see an increase in requests for environmental asylum. The crisis of climate change and its ensuing migration is a global one requiring international cooperation both from the private and public sectors to reduce carbon emissions and to acknowledge the plight of the climate migrants.
#gameofchange #swi2020 #climatemigration #disruption #refugeegeneration
Above: More on the impact and opportunities that climate migration has created.
By: Faeeza Khan