Climate Change Induced Migration

Prelims level : Environment Mains level : GS-III Environment & Biodiversity |Climatic Change Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia
No Set Found with this ID

Why in News?

  • Climate-induced displacements have increased both in numbers and magnitude worldwide. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre’s (IDMC) report, 23.7 million people experienced displacements in 2021 as a result of cyclones and floods.

Estimates about Migration:

  • IOM estimates: The International Organisation on Migration (IOM) estimates that on a global scale, between 25 million and 1 billion people would be compelled to migrate from their homes because of climate change and environmental degradation by 2050.
  • Situation in south Asia: South Asia is no exception to it. Disasters cause most of the internal displacements occurring in South Asia every year, and in the year 2021, nearly 5.3 million disaster displacements were reported.
  • CANSA Report: The Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) reports that approximately 45 million people in India alone, shall be compelled to migrate by 2050 due to climate disasters, with a threefold increase in current figures.

How women and children are most vulnerable?

  • UN report: The United Nations asserts that around 80 percent of climate change displaces include women.
  • Global International Migrant Stock: The present share of women migrants in the Global International Migrant Stock oscillates between 48 percent and 52 percent, as they frequently experience ‘triple discrimination’ given their positions as women, unprotected workers and migrants.
  • Developing countries are most vulnerable: The situation becomes even more precarious in developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and several small island nations in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Violence is likely: Women uprooted due to climate change become more vulnerable to violence, human trafficking, and armed conflicts. For instance, a study by the Sierra Club (2018) revealed how women impacted by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar witnessed increased occurrences of sexual and domestic abuse, forced prostitution, and sex and labour trafficking.

What is the New York Declaration on international Migration?

  • Global compact for migration (GCM): It mandated the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in 2018 and for the first time, a comprehensive framework recognising the concept of climate change-induced migration within the broader concept of international migration was developed.
  • Global compact on refugee: The Declaration also paved the way for an adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) in the same year, but an extension of refugee law to cater to the needs of those displaced by the forces of climate change does not really resolve this humanitarian concern.
  • More investment in research: It also highlights the need for pumping in more investments towards research to tackle the challenges of environmental migration and rests on important climate change mitigation instruments like the Paris Climate Agreement, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
  • Share responsibility on states: The Zero Draft of the GCM itself highlights how it sets out shared responsibilities of the states in commitment to the causes of migration– showing how the GCM relies on the countries having a sense of moral responsibility for the fulfilment of its goals and objectives.

Discussion in COP27 about climate migration:

  • Global goal on adaptation: The 2022 Conference of the Parties’ (or COP27) summit was seen as a platform that would lend visibility to the concept of climate migration, especially in light of how a work programme for defining a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) towards identifying collective needs and solutions in light of the ongoing climate crisis that has already affected so many countries around the world, was established in the 2021 COP26 summit.
  • Lack of progress on migration: While COP27 established a framework towards the attainment of the GGA (likely to be adopted in 2023 at COP28), its progress towards protecting and assisting climate migrants remains in a state of limbo.
  • Task force on displacement: As highlighted in a study by the ECDM, the key problem lies in how the Task Force on Displacement has projected climate-induced mobility as a “loss and damage” concern, in turn putting forth the idea that this kind of human mobility stands as a failed adoption strategy.

What role India can play on climate-induced migration?

  • No clear reference to climate migration: Paragraph 40 of the G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration talks about preventing irregular migration flows, the trafficking of migrants and holding such talks in the future G20 summits to come, but the term “climate migration” fails to make an appearance.
  • Leverage G20 for climate migration consensus: India seeks to play a significant role in the international efforts for climate action, and its commitment can be reflected in it being party to the UNFCCC and its instruments–the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. Its presidency could provide a platform for the G20 countries to work together in addressing the growing concerns of human mobility in forms of both migration and displacements.
  • Intergovernmental dialogue: Also, knowledge gaps pertaining to human mobility because of climate change and environmental degradation can be addressed through intergovernmental dialogues to be held at the G20 platform under India’s Presidency.


  • Policymakers meet to discuss the several concerns of climate change at various platforms, progress concerning any support for the climate migrants remain insufficient till date, resting on goodwill gestures instead. World must pay attention and money to firmly address the climate migration issue.
Share Socially