Governmental Organizations

Various international governmental organizations have been at the forefront of the environmental migration debate. They do not have the same position on the question of the definition of an environmental migrant. On our mapping, we can see theses differences.

We interviewed Dina Ionesco, policy researcher at the IOM and Bart Edes, director poverty and social development division at the Asian Development Bank.

Dina Ionesco, speaking for the IOM: “The International Organization for Migration has a working definition of environmental migrants as people or groups of people who, predominantly for reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their homes or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad. This IOM working definition is not intended to serve a legal / normative purpose or have implications for the granting of rights. Rather, it represents an attempt to capture the complexity of the issue at hand.”

The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) has also addressed the issue in its following sub-groups: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; the United Nations Development Programme; and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Bart Edes speaking for the Asian Development Bank: “Migration driven by environmental factors is emerging as a serious concern, one that demands urgent attention from decision makers. Environmental migration should be addressed in the broader context of migration more generally, and as part of the development agenda.”

In a July 2011 speech to the Security Council, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that environmental refugees are “reshaping the human geography of the planet” in a trend which poses a threat to “human security, as well as to international peace and security”.

Regional governmental organizations have also been very active in the debate on environmental migration.

Bangladesh : National Adaptation Programme of Action to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs to adapt to climate change.

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