The term "climate refugees" is misleading, but climate change is one of several root causes behind forced migration. More research is needed in this field, and preventive measures such as climate change adaptation can reduce the risk of displacement, according to a new report by NRC.
Currently it is not scientifically proven that people are forced to flee due to climate change only. However, climate and environmental issues are among the underlying causes of migration, which must be seen in a larger political and economic context. These are some of the findings in the report NRC presents today; "Future floods of refugees – a comment on climate change, conflict and forced migration".
The report deals with the form and scope of future displacement in addition to protection and preventive measures. With emergency aid projects in more than 20 countries across the world, NRC is one of the biggest humanitarian aid organisations in Norway and a leading actor within the international work for refugees and IDPs. NRC is now strengthening its work on climate and environmental issues.
"Climate change affects the environment, which can trigger conflict and displacement. In order to prevent displacement, it is important to reduce the negative consequences and implement climate change adaptation for societies that are affected by climate change," says NRC Secretary General Elisabeth Rasmusson.
The report recommends that climate change adaptation in developing countries be given priority together with mitigation and emission-reducing measures. Financial resources must be made available to countries that bear the consequences of forced migration related to climate change.
"There are close to 40 million people displaced by war and conflict in the world today. 26 million of these are displaced within their own country. In the future, most of the forced migration will continue to take place internally and regionally. Developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia, will continue to have to receive the majority of displaced populations," Rasmusson says.
The report was presented in Oslo on April 22, during a seminar for NGOs, politicians and the media. Among the speakers at the seminar were Norwegian State Secretary Raymond Johansen, senior researcher Henrik Urdal from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Prio) and climate adviser Bård Lahn from the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature.