Debate on Climate Change and Migration at International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights

IOM, Migration and Climate Change

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will join a high-level panel on 14 March during the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva (FIFDH), Switzerland. The panel titled “Climate Refugees”: Drop the Quotation Marks! will focus on the impact of climate change on population movements around the world. The event is co-presented by the Philanthropia Foundation and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.

Jill Helke, IOM Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships, will speak at the panel. She will highlight the impact of sudden disasters on population movement, while also shedding light on the effects of drought and other slow-onset events and processes. According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 475,000 people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, over 1.2 million in Somalia and more than 14,000 in Madagascar between November 2016 and November 2017 due to drought, yet slow-onset events receive less media exposure than sudden disasters.

Joining Helke will be Robin Bronen, Executive Director, Alaska Institute for Justice; Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations in Geneva; and Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, Chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) and former Military Advisor to the President of Bangladesh. The panel will be moderated by Xavier Colin, Founder of GEOPOLITIS on RTS and associate fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP).

The debate will follow the screening of the documentary The Age of Consequences, a film by Jared P. Scott. The movie examines the impact of climate change on the scarcity of resources and threats to human and state security, while bringing in the migration implications as well.

However, IOM experts stress that these phenomena do not automatically result in insecurity and violence.

“Where displacement and migration do occur, promoting development in both departure and destination areas, improving conditions in host communities and ensuring migrants are integrated can avoid tensions and ensure human security,” says Dina Ionesco, IOM Head of Migration, Environment and Climate Change ahead of the screening.

IOM has been addressing the links between migration, environment and climate change for more than 25 years on all fronts. Since 1998, IOM has implemented over 1,000 projects related to human mobility, disasters and climate change, and released in 2017 the first Atlas of Environmental Migration.

The FIFDH is the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights. For the past 15 years, the festival has taken place in the heart of Geneva, the human rights capital, parallel to the annual main session of the UN Human Rights Council in March.

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For more information, please contact:
Dina Ionesco, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179481 Email:
Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email:
Chirine El Labbane, Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), Tel: +41 79 542 18 09, Email:

  • The FIFDH is the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights. © IOM

  • Somali child displaced by drought. © IOM