14 de junho de 2020

Content republished from Medium site

All aspects of migration management can- and should — be rethought to protect those migrating in the context of new climate and environmental realities.

Every day, we read more and more stories on how the impact of climate change affects the migration of people. From the dry corridor of Central America where drought intersects with violence, to the islands of the Pacific threatened by sea level rise and tropical storms, migration patterns are reshaped on all continents.

We often travel on mission and have met many “ordinary” people, from taxi drivers in Miami to service workers in Azerbaijan, who tell us that they know someone who had to leave their place of residence because of devastating hurricanes that destroy houses and affect the economy or droughts that damage crops and compromise food security. Climate migration is not an abstract concern — it is a daily reality. As the world faces the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the socio-economic aftermath of the crisis is likely to take its toll on climate migration policy and practice.

Both public scrutiny and political interest from policymakers have led to climate migration concerns being taken up in global policy discussions among United Nations member states, such as the Task Force on Displacement under the climate change negotiations and the Global Compact for Migration, the first intergovernmental agreement on international migration. These global discussions have produced solid recommendations and have brought awareness to the need to understand drivers of climate migration and respond to them. Efforts to bring visibility to climate migration have been successful — but we are now facing an even more immense challenge: how do we move from vision to practice?

There are different approaches that can help addressing some of the challenges both states and individuals are facing. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) supports a dual approach: states should look at how their climate change policies on the one hand, and their migration policies on the other hand, could include climate migration elements. This means ensuring that migration dimensions are reflected in national climate and environmental policies and laws, with the primary goal to avoid the forced migration of people out of climate-affected areas. Many countries have already made efforts to include migration dimensions in their national climate change policies and countries most vulnerable to climate change are increasingly trying to understand how climate mitigation and adaptation can affect migration within their countries and across borders.

The second element is to understand how existing migration management tools can be reshaped, and what kind of new tools are needed to respond to unprecedented climate-related migration situations. Broadly speaking, migration management can be defined as “planned approaches to the implementation and operationalization of policy, legislative and administrative frameworks, developed by the institutions in charge of migration.”

Concretely, this means looking at tools such as visa requirements and waivers; measures for border control; residence permits; educational, training or labor bilateral agreements; voluntary return policies; measures to prevent and combat trafficking and smuggling of migrants; and economic measures to reduce the cost of transferring remittances and incentivize investments of diasporas.

There already is some thinking on how migration management tools can be applied to the situation of people moving in the context of climate change and environmental degradation. For instance, a Free Movement Protocol in East Africa was recently endorsed at ministerial level and has specific provisions to allow citizens of the state parties to the Protocol to move in anticipation of, during, or in the aftermath of a natural disaster and to extend the stay of people affected by disasters when returning to their states of origin is not possible. Similar discussions are ongoing in the Caribbean and Pacific regions. There has been some thinking around how to create incentives for diaspora abroad to invest in climate action measures in their countries of origin, or how migrant voluntary return and reintegration need to be rethought in a changing climate. Research has also been conducted on how seasonal and temporary labor migration programmes in the Pacific could provide livelihood options to communities most affected by climate change. We already know that trafficking linked to climate change is a big issue, but considerations of this issue remain limited.

All aspects of migration management can- and should — be rethought to protect those migrating in the context of new climate and environmental realities. It is an immense undertaking that needs to be context-specific: what will make sense in one country or region might not be applicable to another. Looking at the future, one key element of this discussion is the development of regular migration options to those who cannot stay where they are or cannot return to areas seriously compromised by climate change. Considering the current climate of fear and distrust around migration questions in many countries, and the competing interests at stake, this discussion will not be an easy one. However, we cannot afford to avoid asking these complicated questions and try to come up with answers, especially as we enter an uncertain post-COVID-19 future.

Source: Medium