This World Humanitarian Day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognizes the threat of the multiple humanitarian crisis triggered by Climate Change all around the world. The World Bank predicts over 140 million people will migrate within their countries due to climate change by 2050, unless action is taken.1

Time is already running out for the world’s most vulnerable people – those who have contributed least to the global climate emergency yet are hit the hardest – and millions of others that are already losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their lives.

The climate emergency is wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that people on the front lines and in the humanitarian community cannot manage. In the race against the climate crisis, we can’t leave anyone behind, and IOM invites you to join #TheHumanRace against climate change.

The effects of most natural disasters and conflicts are particularly felt in specific regions of the world, but climate change can be felt by everyone around the world. Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity, resulting in more people becoming displaced. Also, rising ocean levels are forcing coastal communities to permanently lose their homes.

Humanitarian interventions do not only focus on immediate needs of people in crisis, but also address long-term issues. For decades, IOM has been an active leader helping those displaced by worsening disasters while also addressing the links between migration and climate change globally.

The sheer scale of the multiple crisis is one that surpasses the capacity of any single individual to solve them alone. They can only be addressed through the efforts of the entire human race.

On the occasion of this international day, this page compiles some key facts and stories of humanitarians working on the frontlines to mitigate and prevent the impacts of climate change.



Global Key Facts
  • The World Bank predicts over 140 million people will migrate within their countries due to climate change by 2050, unless action is taken.2
  • Slow-onset events can erode the capacity of ecosystems to provide critical series such as access to fresh water, food, shelter, and energy production.3
  • There were 40.5 million new internal displacements in 2020, the vast majority of which were caused by natural disasters (30 million).4



Regional Key Facts
  • Transhumance in West and Central Africa:
    • Transhumance is a practice largely dependent on natural resources as it sees herders and their livestock migrate on a seasonal basis between complementary ecological areas, from areas with scarce grazing lands and water sources to areas with more abundant pastures and water. According to IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data collected in January 2021, 1.5M animals and 57,000 herders were stranded along the border separating Sahelian countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger) from coastal countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin) for reasons including security and mobility restrictions. As of February, and March 2021, 343,000 animals and 7,360 herders were identified crossing these borders.
  • West and Central Africa:
    • DTM data and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reports show that 528,000 individuals were internally displaced due to natural disasters such as floods, storms, or landslides in West and Central Africa in 2020. Of these, 49 per cent (260,000) were displaced in Niger.
    • Data from DTM Nigeria shows that since January 2021, approximately 27,200 individuals were displaced by floods in North Western, North Central and North Eastern Nigeria. As of June 2021, 143,000 people were identified as displaced due to natural disasters in Nigeria.
    • As of June 2021, DTM data from West and Central African indicates that Niger and Nigeria host the highest numbers of disaster displaced people in the region.
  • Pacific Islands:
    • IOM has been addressing the links between migration and climate change globally for over 25 years.
    • IOM works with governments across the Pacific Islands to manage and prepare for climate migration and has active projects in several Pacific Island States, including Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, among others.
    • IOM works with Pacific communities to provide lasting solutions for climate migration, develop evidence and share knowledge on climate adaptation strategies and facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration.
    • IOM has supported Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu in exploring labour mobility as a possible climate adaptation strategy. IOM trained key national government stakeholders, collected critical data on labour migration in the region and strengthened government mechanisms to manage labour migration as an adaptation strategy.
    • In line with SDG goals, IOM’s climate migration work helps achieve SDG target 13.2: to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning, as well as SDG target 10.7: to facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. 

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