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Recent developments

There have been developments which show an increased awareness to the problem of climate refugees:

In April 2007, the UN Security Council held an intensive debate on the impacts of climate change on international peace and security. In this debate, the Security Council also addressed the threat of climate change migration (read more).
The UN General Assembly has adopted a draft resolution in June 2009, titled “Climate change and its possible security implications”. UN organs, including the Security Council, are invited “to intensify efforts in addressing security implications of climate change” (read more, see also the draft resolution). In response to this resolution, the UN Secretary-General was asked to write a report on "Climate change and its possible security implications" (click here for the full report).

Javier Solana (High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union) and Benita Ferrero-Waldner (European Commission) released a high-profile report in March 2008 in which it was advocated that the European Union should take measures to deal with climate change impacts, like climate change migration, mainly by making it part of the EU security policy (read more). For follow-up reports in 2008 click here, for follow-up reports in 2009 click here.

In 2009, the European Commission released a White Paper on adaptation to climate change, in which it is stated that climate migration requires attention, either in the form of development, migration or secuirty policies (read more).

In March 2008, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Resolution “Human Rights and Climate Change”. It was decided that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will initiate a UN-study on the relation between human rights and global warming (read more). This study has been discussed in the UN Human Rights Council debate in March 2009 and was  made available to the 15th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC held in Copenhagen (read more) (read also a conference report by FES on this session).
As part of the preparation process, the OHCHR has held an Open-ended Consultation Meeting on the 22nd of October 2008 in which many experts, NGO’s, representing States and intergovernmental organizations have been given the opportunity to contribute to the preparation process of this UN-study (read more).
The OHCHR has also further expressed the urgency to recognize the relation between climate change and human rights. The OHCHR for instance underscored the need for the effects of climate change on human rights to become an important issue of concern at the 2008 Poznań Climate Change Conference (read more). Moreover, at the Bonn Climate change Talks in June 2009, a Human Rights Council panel drew attention to the human rights implications of climate change (read more).

In June 2008, the Greens/EFA Group had organized a conference in the European Parliament on climate change migration which resulted in a “Declaration on climate migrations” (read more). Frank Biermann has given a speech at this conference on the 11th June in which he discussed the possible governance mechanisms to deal with this looming crisis. (read more).

In June 2008, the Citizens Agora on Climate Change in the European Parliament agreed within the final document that “The citizens gathered in the Agora on Climate Change (...) call on the European Institutions to develop a European strategy on climate forced migration and launch a debate within the UN on the status of climate migrants and a protocol to the UNFCCC on climate forced migration” (read more).

For activities undertaken by UNHCR on the issue of climate change and displacement, click here.

EACH-FOR is a two-year long research project supported by the European Commission. The research project ran from 2007 till May 2009. Its goal is to support European policies, research and the civil society with 'forced migration' scenarios, and cooperate with other migration and environment degradation related projects and institutions (read more).

In the sixth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention (Bonn, June 2009), Bangladesh called for provisions and financing mechanisms related to the protection of climate refugees (read more, submission Bangladesh). As a result, provisions related to the protection of this new population of concern are now part of the revised negotiating text (read more, page 45-46). Read also the news article by IRIN Humanitarian News and Analysis on this issue. Further progress was made at the December 2009 UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen (read more). Furthermore, the resulting text of the recent Conference of the Parties held in Cancún includes a paragraph on climate change induced displacement (click here for the Cancún text, paragraph 14f).  @font-face { font-family: "Verdana"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1;

Recent developments on Climate Refugees

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Useful links on Climate Refugees

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Bibliography on Climate Refugees

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Environment article on climate refugees

Frank Biermann and Ingrid Boas. 2008 (November-December). Protecting Climate Refugees: The Case for a Global Protocol. Environment 50 (6): 8-16.

Coordinator of the climate refugee program

Ingrid Boas