On the occasion of the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), the UN Network on Migration urges States to strengthen their commitments and address the reality that people increasingly migrate to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
Today, no region is spared from environmental hazards. Sudden- and slow-onset hazards, including extreme heatwaves, flooding, and droughts, will only become more frequent in a warming climate.
Taking ambitious and urgent climate change mitigation and adaptation action and facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration of people affected by climate change, including by enhancing the availability and accessibility of regular migration pathways and ensuring decent work for migrant workers, will be critical. This would help prevent affected people from resorting to precarious or irregular migration, including at the hands of smugglers, while providing greater certainty and predictability for all communities.
Furthermore, community-led inclusive climate adaptation and mitigation measures, enabled by adequate climate finance, will allow affected communities to develop resilience and just transition to a well-being economy and increase the chances that people migrate out of choice, not necessity.
To this end, the Network calls on States to integrate human mobility scenarios in their climate change policies, plans and actions. Key to this will be recognising that the Paris Agreement, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015- 2030 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are interlinked and provide a mutually reinforcing framework that should be implemented simultaneously. The Network reminds States that any policy measure or legislation that governs or directly affects migration in the context of climate change should remain consistent with their human and labour rights obligations.
In building national capacities to address migration in this context, the Network calls on governments, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to:
local response planning and implementation, and promote their effective and informed participation in related decision-making processes, risk assessment, planning and implementation of human rights-based, decent work-focused, child-sensitive and gender-responsive measures;
Looking ahead to the first International Migration Review Forum in 2022, which will review the status of implementation of the GCM, including gaps, challenges and emerging issues, the Network stands ready to continue supporting Member States and work with all relevant partners to enhance policy coherence across existing frameworks and to provide coordinated responses to current and future migration in the context of disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation.
Only by ensuring that no one is left behind will we be able to protect the human rights and dignity of migrants, build resilient communities and develop mobility scenarios in the face of these challenges.
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The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While the Network’s mandate is focused on migration, States are called to also implement these recommendations as relevant to displaced persons, refugees and asylum-seekers as well and to protect the human rights of everyone equally, regardless of status.
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UN Network on Migration (Secretariat)