INGOs and Parliamentarians Round-Table on Climate change and Human Rights at the Council of Europe - 29 September 2015
"Migrants should be taken neither as heroes nor victims but for committed and responsible actors who can contribute to the fight against climate change!" (Dina Ionesco)
Dina IONESCO, director of the Migration Environment and Climate Charge Division, newly created at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) presented the commitments and expectations of the Organization to the Paris Summit during the Round Table on Human Rights and Climate Change.
IOM currently brings together 158 member-states around programs both political and field. The Organization is marked, according to Mrs IONESCO by a "culture of doing"
Who are the environmental migrants?
The equation "Migration, Environment and Climate Change" is complex because any migration is multicausal. It is therefore difficult to isolate the environmental factor from other causes of migration (economic, social, demographic or personal). It appears as well that Mediterranean migrants suffered environmental and climate stress. Such important dimension cannot be ignored any longer
Furthermore, the multi causality accompanying environmental migration has legal and social repercussions because if everyone understands migration due to sudden disaster, it is much more difficult to identify those due to slow degradation of the environment as salinization land or ocean acidification
Can we speak of environmental migrants?
The data that legitimize political action are difficult to obtain.
Between 2008 and 2014, 196 million people were displaced by sudden disasters. In 2013, 22 million people, out of drought, have been identified, a number greater than that of people fleeing the conflict. It is also known, she said, that 93% of these trips were caused by floods in 2013, particularly in Asia.
According to the IDMC (International Displacement Monitoring Center) migration observatory with which IOM works, IPCC and UNCCD
2.4 billion people will be in repeated drought area
50 million people will be in areas subject to desertification
75 to 120 000 people will be subject to water stress
50 of the largest cities in the world located in coastal areas will experience rising seas and coastal erosion
However that migration will be mainly internal to the countries or regional
Climate migrants can not access the status of "refugee".... ...
Although we speak of migration in discussions on climate, (which is a change of era and paradigm), climate migration fall into two types of situations:
First, internal migration, national or regional, the most common one, which is the responsibility of States. In such case, the Kampala Principles apply, for prevention as well as evacuation or return.
Second, migration across borders which are not covered by the 1951 Geneva Convention, since it requires evidence of persecution.
This leads IOM and UNHCR to refuse to use the term "climate refugee" who reports to the metaphorical language (as the terms "climate shipwrecked" or "exiles of climate change"). These organizations do not want to "make people believe they can get refugee status on the basis of the Geneva Convention, says Ms IONESCO
... hence the vital importance of the human rights frame
The structure of human rights provides a set of rights such as the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits returning a migrant in his country since the security is not assured.
IOM has been working for over twenty years on this topic. Its areas of work relate to the conceptualization, information, advocacy and research.
A glossary, wanted by the Member States of IOM, aims to find linguistic bridges between the theme of migration and that of environment
IOM addresses the entire migration cycle, from prevention to resettlement (eg. Preparing children at risk, planning of coastal areas under threat but also humanitarian assistance, assistance to nomadic populations, or work with diaspora fund return to develop the original land in state (eg Niger and Senegal)
Other axis, facilitating legal and circular migration (eg between Colombia and Spain). IOM also works with the United Nations Framework Convention to Combat Desertification,
The Organization follows migration issues in the climate debate since COP 14 and integrates the climate talks in programs on migration. Dina Ionesco recalls that migration are included in the statements of Cancun and Doha as part of adaptation but negatively policies