Migration and Climate Change

Climate change is expected to trigger growing population movements within and across borders, as a result of such factors as increasing intensity of extreme weather events, sea-level rise and acceleration of environmental degradation. In addition, climate change will have adverse consequences for livelihoods, public health, food security, and water availability. This in turn will impact on human mobility, likely leading to a substantial rise in the scale of migration and displacement.

The links between climate change and migration, however, are usually far from simple and direct.  Climate-specific factors are often difficult to isolate from other environmental challenges, so it's important to look at a broader migration and environment nexus. Other factors, such as conflict, governance and levels of development, also play important roles.

» Read more

What are the estimates?

There are no reliable estimates of climate change induced migration. Future forecasts vary from 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis, with 200 million being the most widely cited estimate. This figure equals the current estimate of international migrants worldwide.

» Read more

What are IOM's role and objectives?

IOM's engagement on migration, climate change and the environment is long established. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition that climate- and environment-induced migration is likely to become one of the key challenges of the 21st century, which must be addressed to ensure human security and sustainable development. Meeting this challenge requires a comprehensive and proactive approach, which should include research, policy and programmatic activities. As the world's leading migration agency, IOM is committed to building on its existing programmes, experience and global network to make a meaningful contribution to the development of such an approach.

IOM strives to ensure adequate assistance to and protection of people affected by climate change, including people on the move as a result of environmental factors. It also works to ensure that migration is recognized and used as one possible adaptation strategy.

» Read about IOM's research on migration,
climate change and the environment
» Read about IOM's policy activities in this area
» Read about IOM's programmatic activities

Who are our partners?

IOM is committed to close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies to better manage climate and environment induced migration, to address its challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities it presents. IOM's most notable partnerships in this context include the Climate Change, Environment and Migration Alliance (CCEMA) and the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC).

» Read more about IOM's partnerships
» Read more about the CCEMA
» Read more about the IASC