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IDMC and partners’ article published in Science magazine

Geneva, 18 June 2021 - IDMC's article on the human cost of displacement in a changing climate, written in collaboration with partners ETH Zurich, IIASA and PIK, has been published today in leading research publication Science.  

Lead author Bina Desai, IDMC’s Head of Programmes, explains the significance: 

"We already know that disasters, from floods to drought, uproot people from their homes around the world every day. We are starting to grasp that the effects of climate change trigger new displacement, such as via coastal erosion, worsen living conditions for vulnerable communities and make extreme weather events more frequent and intense. What is not well understood or quantified is the human cost of disaster displacement, now and in the future.  

"In this article, we argue for a stronger evidence base and suggest that what is missing are locally led displacement risk assessments to guide decision making. They should account for the potential economic cost of displacement and make the case for investment in disaster risk reduction and lasting solutions for people who have lost their home, land or livelihood.  

"We estimate that for each additional degree in average global temperatures, there is 50 per cent increase of displacement risk. Disaster and climate-related displacement represent an existential global challenge that can no longer be ignored." 

IDMC launched its 2021 Global Report on Internal Displacement last month, with a focus on displacement in a changing climate. During a year marked by intense storms, 30.7 million new displacements were triggered by disasters in 2020, the highest annual figure recorded in a decade.  

Science is the world’s leading academic journal for cutting-edge research in all areas of science. Founded in 1880 with seed money from Thomas Edison, it is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  


Read the full article here. And listen to Bina on the Science magazine podcast explaining more about the hidden cost of displacement.  

For more information about our work on this topic, take a look at our 'displacement in a changing climate' research page.