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9 June 2011, Geneva
Introduction Presentation of the workshop by Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General
Deputy Director General Thompson stressed the need for further research on climate-induced migration, and introduced IOM’s policy, research and operational experience on migration, environment and climate change. She noted how politicians and the press often resort to sensationalism when discussing the topic, and highlighted the need for a pragmatic approach. From a policy perspective, the ultimate goal should be to make migration a choice. In order for this to happen, we need to understand how migration could serve adaptation policies.
Presentation of the ADB project by Bart W. Édes, Director, Policy Reduction, Gender and Social Development Division, ADB
Édes described the ADB project on Policy Options to Support Climate-induced Migration, which is one part of ADB’s overall program addressing climate change mitigation in developing Asia and the Pacific. After an initial phase devoted to establishing the state of research on climateinduced migration, the project has now entered a policy development phase, including the aspects regarding the funding of policy options. In the context of this new phase, the Geneva dialogue sought to achieve the following objectives: - present the project and its initial recommendations to a selected group of policy-makers, practitioners and scholars; - solicit their views and advices regarding the policy recommendations that have been developed, including the feasibility of a financing facility; - identify policy gaps and challenges that need to be addressed in Asia and the Pacific; - discuss areas of collaboration with ADB with regard to the project.
Initial policy recommendations Presentation by François Gemenne (IDDRI), Diana Reckien (PIK) and Jonathan Hill (Fount LLC).
The draft policy recommendations were organized around six key overarching themes. 1. Recognize that migration can be part of the solution Though migration can be part of the solution, many participants highlighted the need to also
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this report are the views of the presenters r and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian 1 Development Bank (ADB), or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this paper and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. Terminology used may not necessarily be consistent with ADB official terms.
advocate for a right to stay, and the possibility of developing a livelihood within a familial context. It was noted that, in general, people wish to stay where they live. Furthermore, climate change can have a significant impact on culture, which needs to be recognized and taken into account. The social, cultural, emotional issues of migration also warrant attention. Though migration can be an adaptation strategy, its cultural and social consequences should not be underestimated. In the case of relocation, migrants can also face discrimination from the host community. In general, it is agreed that people should be offered the right to choose, which also implies that people are provided with access to the correct information. Some participants observed that it would be difficult to promote migration as an adaptation solution when many governments are already curtailing immigration. The political context needs to be taken into account as a defining element. The most vulnerable population groups require special attention, as they are often unable to migrate. An example was cited from Pakistan, where women often find themselves unable to move to the refugee camps where aid is provided. The most vulnerable often lack the skills that would allow them to find work in a destination area, and often feel marginalized by globalization. 2. Improve the data and knowledge A key gap in knowledge about climate-induced migration concerns the scale of the issue, in particular about slow-onset climate-induced migration and its consequences. Country profiles would be most useful to address this gap: both migration profiles and environmental migration assessments are needed in this regard. Better data is needed not only for international migration, but also internal migration. Some participants suggested that existing data should be contextualized with regard to other global regions: how is Asia-Pacific different from Africa and Latin America? The importance of downscaling climate models was downplayed. However, the importance of understanding how climate change will impact upon migration behaviors was cited. Participants underlined that the migration decision was often taken after slow-onset environmental degradation had reached a tipping point, i.e., the moment when the migrants considered living conditions as no longer sustainable. Thus, the understanding of tipping points is key, and could be improved through the study of sensitivity. There is also a large knowledge gap with regard to the duration of migration. Protracted displacement is little understood in the context of climate change. 3. Build capacities Participants highlighted the imperative of information: both governments and affected populations need to be provided with the right information, and should be able to access it. Media and technology can be instrumental in that regard. Gender aspects of migration must be recognized in developing policy responses, both with regard to adaptation policies and migration policies. The importance of reinforcing migrants’ skills was also highlighted, so that they can better fit labor market needs. In order to bring migration and adaptation policies together, development is vital. Policies must be formulated within a development agenda.
4. Improve governance and cooperation Different participants cited policy arrangements for addressing environmental displacements. The example of the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) granted by the United States to Haitian nationals after the January 2010 earthquake was mentioned. Participants stressed the need to build upon existing Asian policies and processes, such as the Colombo Process, a regional consultative process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labor for countries of origins in Asia. The ADB project could make a difference by facilitating new forms of dialogue, using the leverage of cooperation with regard to adaptation policies. Existing cooperation on labor migration should also be used, and the labor market needs to be incorporated in a climate-induced migration strategy. Climate change also impacts labor conditions, and this needs to be better understood. In the destination areas, migrants networks sometimes lock migrants into specific labor areas, meaning that needs of the labor market are not always met. The weakness of migrant and refugee protection frameworks in the region needs to be addressed, and efforts made by some countries need to be encouraged and replicated. Conventions such as the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Labor Migrants and Members of Their Families should be better implemented. The standard protection frameworks should also be further upheld. Participants recognized that governance and policy responses need to rely on states as the key actors for the implementation of these responses. Many feel that a prescriptive approach will not be effective. 5. Mainstream urban management and disaster risk management with adaptation policies Participants discussed migration to mega-cities, but it was also noted that climate-induced migration will also occur in small towns and rural areas. In some cases, it seems indeed more relevant to speak of rural-to-rural migration. The importance of tackling the issue of urban poverty was stressed. Migration to rural areas also brings into view issues of farming systems and land tenure. 6. Set up financial mechanisms This part of the discussion was introduced by Jonathan Hill (Fount LLC). Three types of existing funds can be distinguished: Migration and refugee organizations Recent proliferation of funds Not funding per se, but since UNFCCC in 1994. migration assistance amounts GEF and facilitated funds. to billions of US dollars. Migration only beginning to Managed by UNHCR, IOM. enter in the dialogue. Climate change funds Disaster relief facilities UN/CERF, CICR – Red Cross funds. Government and private charities.
Most climate change funds are in the process of being developed and implemented, and there is the possibility that windows of opportunity for migration can be considered. It is very difficult to estimate the actual amount of money that will become available for climate-induced migration, and the emergence of too many funding mechanisms might cause problems of overlapping and funding dilution. Market-based funding mechanisms could provide innovative solutions, but raise questions about the access to those facilities by the most vulnerable. Such facilities include remittances, micro-credit, micro-enterprise lending, micro-insurance, catastrophe bonds, weather derivatives, sea-level rise transfer mechanism, etc. Participants raised questions about the new Cancún Framework for Adaptation: it was noted that there is insufficient clarity about how the Article 14f will be operationalized. The fact that climate negotiations only address migration through the prism of funding seems problematic, and it is unclear about whether and how international organizations could use this funding. There is also much uncertainty about the scale of funding that will be available. Many participants stressed the need to clarify the purposes and beneficiaries of those funds. Though the mobilization of funding in the aftermath of a disaster is relatively easy, funding needs to be increased for the prevention of disasters and slow-onset environmental degradation.
IOM’s evolving work on climate-induced migration Presentation by Md. Shahidul Haque, Director, Department for International Cooperation and Partnerships, IOM
Shahidul Haque presented work of IOM on the subject, including the management of the full circle of environmental migration: Managing the full circle of environmental migration: 1. Prevent forced migration, facilitate migration as adaptation 2. Prepare for displacement and relocation 3. Manage migration: assistance and protection 4. Mitigate impacts of forced or mass migration 5. Address long-term challenges: durables solutions, migration, development and adaptation. Two overarching principles guide the action of IOM: minimize forced migration resulting form environmental factors; ensure protection and assistance and devise durable solutions where displacement is inevitable.
Discussion on steps forward and priorities
Bart W. Édes, invited participants to suggest key priorities with regard to policy directions. Participants observed that the collection and improvement of data needs to remain a priority, as it can also be helpful to conceive solutions. Despite their complexity, some major issues such as protracted displacement and gender issues should not be forgotten. Labor programs need to be further mainstreamed into migration programs. Migrants’ skills need to be reinforced.
The improvement of livelihoods needs to remain a priority. Climate-induced migration, overall, needs to be more addressed in the development and adaptation agendas – some participants regretted an excessive focus on sudden disasters. Remittances can play a great role in strengthening local resilience. Gervais Appave¸ Special Policy Adviser to the Director General, IOM, provided some concluding thoughts, and recalled the key challenges highlighted by the dialogue: There is a need to better understand the different types of migration as well as tipping points, in order to debate the responses to be provided (prevention or remedy?) The common glue to all the types of responses seems to be development. Responses should provide for balance between the right to move and the right to stay. What role should international legal frameworks play? Bridges must be built between climate-induced migration and migration planning. The knowledge base must be improved. Statistical systems, action research and country profiles must be created. We must better understand the meaning of those data and how to efficiently use them.
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