But, as the UNHCR chief has pointed out, “the image it conveys – of people driven from their homes as an outcome of the climate emergency – has rightly captured public attention.”. While projections vary widely, the World Bank predicts that more than 140 million people could be internally displaced by the effects of climate change by 2050. The Sahel region, where Niger is located, is one of the areas of the world that has been hardest hit by climate change. The confluence between climate change and insecurity is also becoming apparent in Afghanistan, where steadily rising temperatures are bringing with them changes in rainfall, snowmelt patterns and an increased risk of flash flooding. As a result, life for the communities around Lake Chad gets tougher every year. When it did rain, it was often torrential and damaged David’s crops. Up to 18 million people may have to move because of sea level rise alone. Once the super storm had passed, Algina’s husband Joel – who nearly drowned when he was swept away by floodwaters – joined local workers in building new, sturdier housing well above sea level. In the next two years, they expect to plant -with the refugees- 20.000 trees in and around the site, using the "cocoon" technology to allow the plants to survive in an hostile environment. Sea level rise, storms, cyclones, drought, erosion, landslides, flooding and salinization are already displacing large numbers of people. A man leaves his house affected by flooding following Hurricane Eta, in Tela, Honduras (November 4, 2020). Meanwhile, insecurity in their home region has worsened, further reducing their prospects for return. The Central Sahel countries of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso are now at the epicentre of one of the world’s fastest growing displacement crises with close to 1.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 365,000 refugees having fled violence, including over 640,000 this year alone. Technically speaking, therefore, the term “climate refugee” is something of a misnomer, as it has no basis in international law and does not accurately reflect the complex ways in which climate and human mobility interact. Ghulam Sakhi, 45, and his family of 10, were living in a mountainous area of Ghor Province, where they relied on winter rain and snow to fill their well, cultivate their land and grow grass for their animals. Climate change is usually referred to as “global warming” and as such does not displace people. UNHCR will continue to work in inter-agency contexts to support governments, building on our strong expertise in emergency response,” said Grandi. Displacement due to disasters is likely to increase due to climate change: Almost every second, a person is displaced by disasters. The impact of natural disasters and the more gradual effects of climate change – such as the receding waters of Lake Chad, rising sea levels for coastal communities, longer and harsher droughts, or the creep of desertification – can create new displaced populations and pose challenges for existing ones. We have now launched a revitalized energy strategy and are improving our tools to address these challenges.”. “Increased movements across borders are now more likely, including of people fleeing persecution and violence,” said Giovanni Bassau, the regional representative for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Central America, following the first storm, Hurricane Eta. In this report, CARE draws on key … As part of our policy of “Greening the Blue”, UNHCR is working to reduce plastic and paper waste, conserve water and energy, cut down on e-waste by favouring sustainable suppliers and recycling electronic goods, phase out our use of fossil fuels, and establish a fund for the internal use of green energy and sustainability. Rather climate change produces environmental effects which may make it … For the past two and a half years, Ghulam and his family have been living in a flimsy shelter at a site for internally displaced people south of Herat City where they are dependent on shrinking humanitarian assistance. As climate change starts to play a more significant role in where we live, it has become a trigger for gentrification and displacement in its own right. Temperatures in the region are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average. The river and the weather are in the hands of Allah, he added, but the threats and extortion from Al-Shabab made life intolerable. With humanitarian aid running low, UNHCR is urging the international community to increase funding for the CAR situation which (as of June) stands at just $12m of the $179m needed for 2018. “At UNHCR, we have worked for years to reduce the environmental impact of refugee crises through renewable energy options, reforestation activities, and access to clean fuels and technology for cooking. And yet no international treaty covers climate-induced migration — … Invasive plants cover half of what is left, making it harder for boats to gain access to the lake. Shalle Hassan Abdirahman, a Somali refugee who fled to Ethiopia, survived a spell as a captive of Al-Shabab before he managed to escape. But today, climate change is accelerating old forces of destruction, creating new patterns of displacement, and fueling an explosion of rapid, chaotic urbanization. Writing by Kristy Siegfried, with additional reporting by Austin Ramírez Reyes in San José, Costa Rica, Naik Mohammad Azamy in Herat, Afghanistan, and Boubacar Younoussa Siddo in Niamey, Niger.   |  Français UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. Climate change is widely expected to lead to widespread displacement and migration worldwide. “Forced displacement across borders can stem from the interaction between climate change and disasters with conflict and violence, or it can arise from natural or man-made disasters alone. Climate change and natural disasters can add to and worsen the threats that force people to flee across international borders. Most displacement linked to climate change is taking place within national borders. Nevertheless, the events and processes accompanying global climate change threaten to increase human movement both within states and across international borders. © UNHCR/Jim Huylebroek, In his search for grazing for his cattle in south-western Niger, Djouba Fedou, 60, repeatedly came into conflict with farmers. Of the 20.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate at the end of 2018, a third were located in the world’s least developed countries, which are often highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, or which suffer from a scarcity of resources and infrastructure. In 2018, a drought decimated the livelihoods of tens of thousands of households in the rural northwest of the country.   |  Français. A man walks across arid land near Kaya, Burkina Faso. As our world heats, the impacts are uneven. Such issues can worsen relations between refugees and their non-refugee neighbours, or even help to create new refugee emergencies by themselves. Media Outlets Examine Climate Change-Related Issues, Including Impacts On COVID-19 Relief, Displacement, Disease Outbreaks Dec 09, 2020 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email Print When Tropical Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March 2019, for instance, UNHCR relocated refugee families to safer shelters and provided them with tents, plastic sheeting, sanitation equipment and clean water. The Refugee Agency is also looking to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions and minimize any negative impacts of its operations on the environment. On average, 25 million people flee disasters “I am praying to God for peace so my children can study and feel safe and comfortable.”. How conflict and climate change form a toxic combination that drives people from their homes. It has been estimated that by 2050, one in every seven people in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change. Years ago, the nearby river had overflowed when the rains arrived, nourishing the land and enabling crops to grow. Climate refugees do not really fit into any of the legal definitions of a refugee. In response to growing pressures on landscapes and livelihoods, people are moving, communities are adapting. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold, After opening of Azraq Refugee Camp's solar power plant, Syrian refugees can enjoy the evening outside their shelters. The two consecutive hurricanes that barrelled through the region in November 2020 are expected to compound hardships for people whose survival was already precarious, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Climate change will alter the frequency, intensity, duration, timing and location of sudden- and slow-onset climate-related hazards. Land and water disputes between farmers and pastoralists have been exploited by extremists seeking a foothold in the region. In particular, where people are displaced as a result of disasters or climate-related factors that are interlinked with conflict or persecution, the 1951 Convention is likely to apply. When that money was finished, we had no choice but to leave to somewhere we could get a living.”. © UNHCR/Xavier Bourgois, Building a sustainable, climate-friendly legacy. And the people left behind are afraid that with Al-Shabab they will get killed.”. “And because the authorities had basically declared me an ‘enemy’, they made it impossible for me to get loans that I would have needed to be able to plant again.”. Existing refugee populations can also fall victim to climate change or natural disasters and hazards. By the time the violent insurgency, which had made its way into Niger from neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, reached Djouba’s village, he had already given up breeding his cattle. With climate change increasing extreme weather events as well as long-term climate variability, the IPCC finds evidence that current migration is partly driven by climate change and projects an increased displacement of people over the 21st century, yet assigns low confidence to quantitative projections (IPCC 2014). Just as rainy seasons are growing shorter and dry seasons lasting longer, the population is growing rapidly and more land is being turned to crop farming, further shrinking the land available for pastoral herders like Djouba. People fleeing extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones and floods, for example, tend to stay as close to home as possible and return when floodwaters have receded. When the rain and snow failed to arrive three years ago, “we lost everything,” he said. The search for greener pastures is exposing them to new risks when they move to urban areas, and even bringing them into conflict with others. 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