Declaration on Environmental and Climate Mobility

The founding conference of the Environment & Climate Mobilities Network in July 2023, brought together 140 scientists from 27 countries who work on global environmental and climate change and the intersection with human mobility: migration, displacement, planned relocation and immobility. This diverse group of scholars from different academic disciplines discussed the state of the art and growing body of research on environmental and climate mobility. 

Since the first mention of migration in the First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1990, scientists from across the globe have gathered evidence on human mobility in the context of climate change, amounting to over 1900 academic articles on the subject [1]. The Nansen Initiative, in its 2015 Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change, called for: 1) Collecting data and enhancing knowledge 2) Enhancing the use of the humanitarian protection measures and 3) Strengthening the management of disaster displacement risk in the countries of origin [2]. This was broadened and deepened in the 2018 recommendations of the Warsaw International Mechanism’s (WIM) Task Force on Displacement, highlighting, among others, the need to avert, minimize and address displacement; facilitate safe mobility; and generate knowledge, and include mobility in planning at all levels. Since then, scientists have advanced knowledge on the plurality of mobility responses to environmental and climate change, examining the different drivers, aspirations, and capabilities to move. Moreover, different policy barriers were identified, and evidence-based policy recommendations have been developed, most recently in three separate statements by coalitions of development actors, international organizations and researchers concerned with human mobility in the context of climate change [3][4][5]. However, progress on humanitarian protection and disaster risk reduction has been insufficient to address rising needs, as climate impacts are intensifying against the backdrop of inaction on emissions mitigation. 

In 2018, UN Member States adopted the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), which also addresses the effects of environmental and climate change on migration. While achievements can be documented regarding data collection and joint analysis (objective 1 of the GCM), progress on the decisive objective of “Enhanc[ing] availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration” (8) has been extremely slow, with very few exceptions. Beyond the Platform on Disaster Displacement’s focus on cross-border displacement and the GCM’s focus on international migration, action is also needed addressing internal movements and mobility as a form of adaptation to climatic risks and changes. With increasing discrepancy between scientific evidence, including that assessed by the IPCC, and global efforts to minimize climate risks through mitigation and adaptation, we, as scientists specializing in climate and environmental (im-)mobilities, bear witness to political inaction. This inaction persists even in the face of more and more detailed evidence on human mobility in the context of climate change and evidence-based policy advice in this field. The record-breaking 32.6 million internal disaster displacements in 2022, and the alarming number of extreme weather events and subsequent displacements in the summer of 2023, are testament to this failure [6].

Based on the overwhelming evidence, we urge policymakers to: 

1. Raise the speed and scale of emissions reductions rapidly to a level that would prevent catastrophic climate impacts which could cause both significant displacement and involuntary immobility in high-risk areas. 

2. Design and implement legal pathways for safe, orderly and regular migration within and across borders out of areas that are severely affected by climate impacts.  

3. Increase adaptation funding that is directed towards people at risk of involuntary displacement and immobility, and towards those seeking to move to adapt to degrading environments and other climate change impacts. 

4. Direct Loss and Damage funding toward people and communities facing climate-related displacement and planned relocation, addressing their needs, before, during and after movement occurs. 

5. Consider the needs of indigenous groups, different genders, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups, including intersectional vulnerabilities. Increase diversity and foster the inclusion of people with displacement history in policymaking and science. 

6. Mainstream mobility into national adaptation and development planning, including displacement and other forms of involuntary (im-)mobility related to Loss and Damage, and consider aspects of climate and environmental (im-)mobilities in national laws and policy fields.                                                                             

      The Signatories:      


      [last update 06.12.2023]:  

      Dr. Kira Vinke, German Council on Foreign Relations 

      Dr. Kees van der Geest, United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

      Dr. Harald Sterly, University of Vienna

      Mechthild Becker, German Council on Foreign Relations 

      Dr. Robert Oakes, United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

      Prof. Etienne Piguet, University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Geography 

      Steven Miron, Refugee Law Initiative, University of London School of Advanced Studies, UK

      Dr. Ingrid Boas, Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University

      Prof. Patrick Sakdapolrak, University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research 

      Dr. Simon Bunchuay-Peth, University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research 

      Dr. Ogbaga Ignatius, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Department of Computer Science

      Dr. Lucy Szaboova,University of Exeter, Department of Geography 

      Petra O. Ogunfowokan, Frontida Zois Initiative (FZI), Nigeria 

      Simon Merschroth, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Future Lab Security, Ethnic Conflicts, and Migration

      Lukmon Akintola, African Climate Mobility Initiative (ACMI), UN Global Center for Climate Mobility

      Jonas Bergmann, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

      Rev. Woledzi Delali Freedman, Centre for Migration Studies, University of Ghana

      Dr. Qian Zhang, Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University

      Hanne Wiegel, Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University

      Sampson Aboagye Osei, Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

      Dr. Simona Capisani, Department of Philosophy, Durham University

      Dr. Daniela Ghio, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada Excellence Chair in Migration and Integration

      Dr. Giovanna Gini, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University and The South America Network for Environmental Migration (RESAMA)

      Dr. Hannah Teicher, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard University

      Dr. Beatriz Felipe Pérez, Tarragona Centre for Environmental Law Studies (CEDAT-URV) and CICrA Justicia Ambiental

      Mr.Nageeb Ahmed Noman Muqbel,Environmental and Social Safeguard Officer at Save the children international .I am also researcher at climate issues

      Saeed A. Khan, Department of Geography, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany

      Raffaella Pagogna, Department of Sociology, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

      Engr. Ludwig O. Federigan, CBP, EMDRCM, Executive Director, Young Environmental Forum; Non-Resident Fellow, Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute

      Sebastian Transiskus, Institute of Geography, University of Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany

      Dr. Lauren Nishimura, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

      Sayantan Samui, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

      Dr. Kristina Petrova, Department of Transformation Pathways, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

      Dr. Kathleen Hermans, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition, Halle (Saale), Germany

      Prof. Sohel Firdos, Sikkim University, Department of Geography

      Sinafekesh Girma Wolde, Politecnico Di Milano, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

      Dr. Christian Ungruhe, Geography with a Focus on Sustainable Development, Passau University, Germany

      Dr Ben Hudson, University of Exeter Law School, UK

      Carolien Jacobs, Leiden Law School, Leiden University, the Netherlands

      Zenaida Lauda-Rodriguez, Institute of Energy and Environment of the University of São Paulo, and RESAMA (The South America Network for Environmental Migration)

      Hacer Gören, Department of Sociology, Koç University, Turkey

      Prof. David Cantor, Refugee Law Initiative, School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK

      Gabriela Nagle Alverio, Nicholas School of the Environment, Sanford School of Public Policy, and School of Law, Duke University, United States of America

      Anouk Maboeuf, Department of Geography, Laval University, Quebec, Canada

      Coline Garcia, University of Vienna, Department of Geography and Regional Research

      Dr. Marion Borderon, Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna, Austria

      Natalia Fedorova, Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

      Ann-Christine Link, United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

      Dr. David Durand-Delacre, United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security

      Dr. Lisa Thalheimer-Prężyna, United Nations University Institute for Environmental and Human Security 

      Dr. Brianna Castro, Department of Sociology, Vanderbilt University

      Dr Benjamin Etzold, Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC), Germany

      Dr. Hélène Benveniste, Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability, Harvard University

      Dr. Roman Hoffmann, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

      Iddrisu Amadu, Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University

      Dr. Kelsea Best, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental & Geodetic Engineering, the Ohio State University

      Dr. Benjamin Schraven, German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)

      Dr. Marie Mualem-Schröder, Researcher at the German Expert Council on Integration and Migration

      Prof. François Gemenne, The Hugo Observatory, University of Liege

      Florian Debève, The Hugo Observatory, University of Liege

      Dr. Juliane Groth, Fraunhofer -Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW, Leipzig, Germany

      Dr. Lore Van Praag, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Social and Behaviorla Sciences

      Dr. Loubna Ou-Salah, University of Antwerp, Centre for Research on Environmental and Social Change

      Elodie Hut, The Hugo Observatory, University of Liège

      Stefano Balbi, Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3)

      Dr. Michele Dalla Fontana, Environmental Policy Group, Wageningen University

      Chloe Cranston, Head of Thematic Advocacy Programmes, Anti-Slavery International

      Dr. Janina Stürner-Siovitz, Research on Migration, Displacement and Integration, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

      Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel, Research on Migration, Displacement and Integration, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg

      Dr. Fanny Thornton, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

      Raquel Lejtreger, consultant and researcher climate change, migration, disaster risk management and human rights activist

      Dr. Phil Orchard, Associate Professor of International Relations, Future of Rights Centre, University of Wollongong

      Dr. Katherine Braun, Policy Advisor Refugee Affairs and Human Rights, Lutheran Church of Northern Germany

      Dr. M Nadiruzzaman, Department of Health, Ethics and Society, Maastricht University, Netherlands.

      Dr. Patricia Nayna Schwerdtle. Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Heidelberg University, Germany.

      Erika Moranduzzo, Phd Candidate, School of Law, University of Leeds (UK)

      Dr. Érika Pires Ramos, Resama – South American Network on Environmental Migrations; Latin American Observatory on Human Mobility, Climate Change and Disasters (MOVE-LAM)

      Dr. Daniel Petz. Universitas Gadjah Mada. Yogyakarta, Indonesia

      Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Alvarez Orozco-Sin Fronteras IAP, México

      Giulia Repetti, Energy and Environment Institute and Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull, UK

      Dr. Marek Szilvasi, Senior Program Manager, Climate Justice, Open Society Foundations

      Amali Tower, Founder & Executive Director, Climate Refugees

      [1] Climig | The migration, climate change and the environment database (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2023, from

      [2] The Nansen Initiative. (2016). Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change: October 2015 (S. 156–162). The Nansen Initiative.

      [3] Loss and Damage Collaboration and Researching Internal Displacement (2023). Loss and Damage and Displacement: Key Messages on the Road to COP 28.

      [4] GIZ, IDMC, ICCCAD, ILO, IOM, NRC, OHCHR, OSA, PDD, RLI, UNDP UNHCR, UNU-EHS, International Refugee Assistance Project and Loss and Damage Collaboration (2023). Implementing the Task Force on Displacement Recommendations through Loss and Damage Policy and Practice. Submission to the UNFCCC Loss and Damage Transitional Committee.

      [5] Climate Mobility Africa Research Network (2023). “Advancing Law And Policy Responses To Climate Mobility In Africa, Key Messages To Governments For Africa Climate Summit & Africa Climate Week And COP28 UN Climate Change Conference 2023.”

      [6]  Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. (2023). Global Report on Internal Displacement 2022. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

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