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Migration and the Human Face of Climate Change

Koko Warner

UNU's activities

The UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) is working with the UN Communications Group to ensure that the problem of environmentally induced migration is incorporated within the overall message stressing the human face of climate change.

Climate change is now a major driver of disasters, with increasingly frequent and intense floods, storms and droughts affecting millions of people worldwide. Those who suffer the most are the poorest residents of risk-prone countries who lack the resources to adapt to, or cope with, rapidly changing climate patterns.

Unless drastic reductions in global emissions are in place by 2020, scientists warn that major disasters and water scarcity, combined with other factors such as population growth, environmental decline and poverty, will lead to widespread death and destruction, mass voluntary migration and forced displacement in many parts of the world. Such unprecedented impacts could overwhelm national governments and global disaster management systems.

Disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and response are vital front-line defences for vulnerable communities, especially in risk-prone parts of the world. While humanitarian organizations can help to reduce the impacts of extreme weather, the disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness system must be strengthened to counter the emerging effects of climate change.

That means that any agreement in Copenhagen relating to risk management must include disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness measures. It must also outline new, more innovative ways to share risk (such as through social funds or insurance schemes) in the future.

Focus areas:


Regions covered:


Participating entities:

UN Communications Group, UNEP


Page last modified 2019.04.16.

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