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Human Mobility in the Face of the Climate Crisis


Side event of the 2021 Economic and Social Council Humanitarian Affairs Segment 
Human Mobility in the Face of the Climate Crisis:
How prevention, protection and solutions can best respond to future trends

Co-organised by IDMC, IOM, UNHCR and PDD and sponsored by the United States of America

Tuesday 22 June | 13:00 – 14:30 CEST

Climate change is aggravating and adding to many of today’s crises through a complex web of effects on weather and seasonal patterns, ecosystems and natural resources, as well as the associated risk of disaster, conflict and displacement of populations. People living in impoverished and fragile situations and facing discrimination, including displaced people and vulnerable migrants, will continue to be among those who are disproportionately affected. 

Research shows how complex the relationship between climate change and conflict can be. 95 per cent of all conflict displacements in 2020 occurred in countries vulnerable or highly vulnerable to climate change. Disasters due to sudden and slow-onset hazards routinely hit populations already uprooted by conflict, forcing them to flee multiple times, as was the case with IDPs in Yemen, Syria and Somalia and refugees in South Sudan and Bangladesh. Moreover, population movements in the context of disasters and environmental change, in particular when not effectively managed, can result in inter-communal tensions.

Learning how to prevent, anticipate and address these overlapping crises is already a key challenge for humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actors, and will become increasingly relevant in the coming years and decades.

The event will bring together IDMC, IOM, UNHCR, PDD, WFP with Member States and representatives of displaced communities. Panellists will offer perspective and analysis on the impact of climate change, including in its interplay with conflict, on present and future population displacement and migration trends. 

Chair and moderator:

Prof. Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair, Platform on Disaster Displacement


  • Joelle Hangi, Co-Founder and Director of Refugee Artist and Authors
  • Andrew Harper, Special Advisor for Climate Action, UNHCR
  • Maria Teresa Miranda Espinosa, Information Management Coordinator, IDMC
  • Mohammad Qaseem Haidari, Deputy minister for coherence and disaster affairs, Afghanistan Disaster management Agency
  • Richard Danziger, Chief of Mission, IOM Somalia
  • Kyung-nan Park, Deputy Regional Director for Central America, WFP