Greta Thunberg and IOM DG António Vitorino Call for Urgent Action to Address Climate Migration 

DG Vitorino and Greta Thunberg

DG Vitorino and Greta Thunberg

Geneva / Stockholm – The Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino, and Climate Justice Activist, Greta Thunberg, are calling for immediate action and increased solidarity to tackle the impacts of climate change on human mobility. 

Greta and DG Vitorino found much common ground during a recent discussion about the impact of global climate change on human mobility. The Greta Thunberg Foundation has donated EUR 275,000 (USD 269,000) to support IOM's emergency response to the historic floods in Pakistan and the drought in Somalia.

“As you said before, António, we need to support people before they move, we need to support people while they move, and afterwards, it's a chain of events,” Greta said. “We need to think holistically like in any other emergency.”  

DG Vitorino replied: “Absolutely. And I'm fully aligned with what Greta just said. I think that the young generation is a source of inspiration and of resilience and being relentless in addressing this huge challenge from our experience in the field.”  



With 20 million people displaced every year due to the effects of climate change, there is an urgent need to prevent global environmental crises and address the impacts of climate migration.

“This is a question of life and death for countless of people having to flee because of the climate crisis," Greta said.

Climate migration is a reality: finding solutions for people to stay, for people on the move, and for people to move is crucial.   

“The ones who are being more seriously hit by climate change are the populations that have less contributed in the past for the problems that we are confronted with,” Vitorino said. “And therefore, there is a need of solidarity and co-responsibility for the fate of those populations that are already today experiencing in their daily lives the human suffering attached to climate change.”  

More than 15 million people in Somalia and Pakistan alone need humanitarian aid due to the recent extreme weather events. The donation from the Greta Thunberg Foundation is helping IOM to continue its emergency response to affected communities in both countries.

"IOM is thankful for the generous contribution from the Foundation, and we are proud to cooperate with Greta to raise more awareness about the impact of climate on migration," said Vitorino.   

Greta also highlighted the complementary actions of IOM and young climate activists.

"Everyone has a different role to play. Organizations like IOM are vital in supporting people impacted by climate change, and those of us who can help you [IOM] in your work should do so. And those of us who can raise our voices to speak up for migrant justice and climate justice should do so," she said.  

IOM is committed to providing life-saving assistance in Pakistan and Somalia.  But we can't do this alone – help us help more.      

Learn more about IOM Migration, Environment, Climate Change and Risk Reduction activities.  


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About the Greta Thunberg Foundation  

The Greta Thunberg Foundation works to support sustainability from a holistic perspective, promoting ecological, climatic and social sustainability. The Foundation was founded in 2019 to create a transparent way of distributing funds from awards, royalties or donations linked to the Foundation's activities and Greta's activism to organizations and movements working for a just and sustainable world. Read more about the Foundation.

About the International Organization for Migration   

Founded 72 years ago in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration. With 174 member states and presence in over 100 countries, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. The Organization works with its partners in the international community to assist in meeting the operational challenges of migration, advance understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration and to uphold the well-being and human rights of all migrants.  


For more information contact:  

Chloé Lavau, IOM Associate Communications Officer for Climate Change and Migration, +41796829956,    

Private Sector Partnership Unit:   

Migration, Environment, Climate Change and Risk Reduction Division: