IOM, Small Island Developing States Highlight Climate Migration at UN General Assembly

Migration and Climate Change

New York – Today (26/09), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with the New York Permanent Missions of Fiji and Portugal are co-organizing a high-level event focusing on climate migration, in the margins of the high-level week of the United Nations’ General Assembly 74th session and the UN Climate Action Summit. The event will take place at the West Terrace, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Climate change and its adverse impacts are experienced acutely in all parts of the world, irrevocably reshaping migration patterns. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable countries in the world to the adverse impacts of climate change. The long-term effects of climate change, such as sea-level rise and unpredictable weather patterns, threaten the livelihoods of communities in the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean islands and increase the risks of forced migration. Small Island States are also among the strongest advocates for concrete action.

At the UN Climate Action Summit, this Monday (23 September), concrete commitments were made by Member States. Small Island States together committed to carbon neutrality and to move to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Overall 77 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will upgrade their National Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. Many more pledges came also from the private section. These actions, when implemented, will also ensure that forced migration due to climate change will be averted and minimized.

IOM is hosting this high-level event as part of its efforts in developing and strengthening comprehensive partnerships, which is essential to address climate change drivers of migration and to implement the outcomes of the Climate Action Summit. The event is aligned with the SG’s call for coherent messaging across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and specific climate change challenges. 

Bringing together high-level representatives from SIDS and from other countries with a strong interest in climate change and migration related issues, as well as heads of partner UN organizations, this event seeks to leverage the discussions around the Climate Action Summit and its follow up to support global and regional policy dialogues, bring visibility to the climate change-migration nexus and support the implementation of concrete responses. 

Targeting also individuals from around the world and in order to shed light and promote action for people impacted by climate change in vulnerable countries, IOM launched this month the #FindAWay campaign. The campaign is a global initiative focused on the resilience and strength of those affected by forced migration due to climate change and IOM’s commitment to being solutions orientated. Help IOM, help more and share the stories from the Find A Way campaign.

For more information on the links between migration, environment and climate change and IOM’s work on it, visit the IOM Environmental Migration Portal and read our publication on Climate Change and Migration in Vulnerable Countries.

For more information on the event or the campaign, please contact Dina Ionesco, Email:, Tel: +41 79 859 10 17 or Rahma Gamil Soliman, Email:, Tel: +1 917 515 7454

  • Children play in the sunset on one of the Carteret Islands atolls in Papua New Guinea. IOM conducted an assessment of the communities in Carteret Islands to know how their lives are being affected by climate change and how well they are adapting to the changing landscape. © IOM 2016/Muse Mohammed


  • Girls in a temporary school after Cyclone Komen shattered rural Myanmar in 2016, where women were taking the lead role in rebuilding their villages. #FindAWay is IOM’s global initiative focused on the resilience and strength of those affected by forced migration due to climate change. © IOM 2016/Mayco Naing