December 3, 2023

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) pushed for strengthened policies to address migration in Asian and Gulf nations, which was driven by climate change.

During the dialogue session of the Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) senior officials, CCC Commissioner Rachel Anne Herrera underscored the need for stronger regional cooperation to find a solution to the pressing threat of climate change and its profound impact on human mobility.

“It’s not just about being forced to evacuate or move during times of calamities and distress; it’s also the element of choice – it’s choosing to evacuate, choosing to move, choosing to relocate, while others choose to stay behind. It’s this element of choice that brings people from danger to safety, from doubts to certainty, from risk to resilience,” Herrera said.

“As climate change impacts continue to significantly drive migration and forced displacements, government policies and programs must be able to respond to the complex issues that surround or arise from these movements – issues, such as loss of livelihoods, armed conflict, gender-based violence, lack of access to appropriate health care services, and so on.”

She said a comprehensive approach is needed to address the challenges faced by displaced individuals, including employment, health care, and security.

Herrera also acknowledged the importance of international support in integrating human mobility into national climate policies and programs.

She likewise emphasized the crucial role of local government units in addressing climate risks and developing local climate change action plans.

Herrera recommended the collaboration on climate risk and loss and damage assessments; enhancement of climate targets and Nationally Determined Contributions; formulation of science-based National Adaptation Plans; and providing support for local governments’ risk-based adaptation interventions.

She made the proposals to strengthen the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration for the Asia-GCC.

Prof. Saleemul Huq OBE, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, backed Herrera’s statement, acknowledging that migration is also a viable adaptation stra-tegy.

“Migration is not just a problem but is actually a solution. We need to think of helping migrants, provide support for those who are forced to leave their homes, and of course, address the underlying causes of climate change,” Huq said.

CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Robert Borje said the commission is committed to advancing climate action and collaboration with stakeholders by leveraging expertise and insights on the complex relationship between climate change and migration.

The International Organization for Migration projects up to 113 million people could internally migrate by 2050 due to water stress, crop failure, sea level rise, and other slow-onset climate impacts.

The dialogue session serves as a platform for labor migration officials from Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates to discuss issues of common interest, which affect labor mobility, including climate change. – PNA