IOM’s MECC programming is guided by its Institutional Strategy on Migration, Environment and Climate Change 2021-2030. The Strategy sets out three strategic objectives. 

  1. We develop solutions for people to move” - Managing migration in the context of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters due to natural hazards.
  2. We develop solutions for people on the move” - Assisting and protecting migrants and displaced persons in the context of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters due to natural hazards.
  3. We develop solutions for people to stay” - Making migration a choice by building resilience and addressing the adverse climatic and environmental drivers that compel people to move.

The Strategy is based on 6 principles – rights-based approach, innovation and effectiveness, gender-responsive, migrant-centred and inclusive, human security approach, and policy coherence and partnerships.  Furthermore, the Strategy identifies 4 Priority Areas of Engagement for IOM in relation to MECC: Migration policy role, Operational role, Knowledge provider role, and Convening role. The Strategy is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish

For more information of the IOM MECC Institutional Strategy, visit here.

MECC in the MENA regional context 

The MENA region is highly vulnerable to climate change as the region is the world’s most water-stressed region. Eleven of the 17 most water-stressed countries are located in the region. The region’s water scarcity is exacerbated by a complex interplay of multiple factors, including depleted water resources, agricultural intensification and population growth (UNICEF, 2021). Both extreme weather events (such as floods, droughts and wildfires) and slow-onset events (such as land degradation, dissatisfaction and sea level rise) affect the region significantly. 

Human mobility in the context of climate change is a reality. Every year, millions of people are internally displaced globally due to disasters with weather related disasters as the top causes, such as storms, floods, wildfires and droughts. In 2021, 233,000 persons were internally displaced by disasters in MENA (IDMC, 2022). In Iraq alone, as of mid-December 2022, 68,670 individuals remain displaced because of drought conditions (IOM Iraq, 2022). Impacts of slow-onset events on human mobility are more complex and other mobility drivers such as socio-economic factors could be closely intertwined with mobility decisions. Nevertheless, the World Bank’s Groundswell Part 2 report predicts that in North Africa alone, as many as 19.3 million could move internally by 2050 without concrete climate and development action (World Bank, 2021). 

UNICEF. 2021. Running Dry: The impact of water scarcity on children in the Middle East and North Africa
IDMC. 2022. Global Report on Internal Displacement 2022
IOM Iraq. Dec 2022. “DTM Emergency Tracking - Climate-Induced Displacement – Southern Iraq”
World Bank. 2021. Groundswell Part 2: Acting on Internal Climate Migration

Main areas of work in MENA  

The current MECC work in the MENA region is centered on the following work areas in line with the four Priority Areas of Engagement in the MECC Institutional Strategy. These work areas also take into account 3 cross-cutting approaches of IOM publication “People on the Move in a Changing Climate – Linking Policy, Evidence and Action”: “Evidence-based policymaking and action”, “Targeted approaches and focus on the most vulnerable”, and “Broad-based partnerships”. 

Work Areas

Work Area 1: Knowledge provider role: strengthening the availability of data, evidence and analyses

  • Improve understanding of the nexus between climate change, environmental degradation, human mobility and other related factors through making data, evidence and analyses available. 

o    Production of MECC Country Reports (Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia)
o    Monitoring of climate-induced displacement through DTM (Iraq)
o    Regional Study on Climate Change, Conflict and Migration (CCM) Nexus and Water Scarcity with Libya and Sudan as the focused countries (project leaflet). 
Work area 2:  Operational role: building climate resilience of individuals and communities  

  • Build preparedness and response capacity of vulnerable communities at risk of floods and other weather-related disasters (Sudan). 
  • Empower women to lead community awareness raising and address issues linked to competition over natural resources (Yemen). 
  • Engage Moroccan diaspora in supporting agroecology in rural areas to diversify livelihood options (Morocco). 

Work area 3:  Policy role: integrating a human mobility lens into relevant policies  

  • Brining action of climate change and migration closer through a policy brief (Iraq).
  • Support the governments to integrate human mobility and gender considerations into climate change policies and action (Jordan, Morocco). 

Work area 4: Convening role: promoting policy discussions and partnerships 

  • Partner with the government to organize a Climate Change, Migration and Health regional symposium to deepen an understanding and policy implications of the nexus (Morocco). 
  • Convene a virtual event to discuss the application of humanitarian-development-peace nexus approach to address the climate change-conflicts-human mobility nexus (regional). 

Supporting IOM’s engagement in COP 27 and COP 28

Two successive Conferences of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are taking place in the MENA region: COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, which took place in November 2022; and COP 28 in Dubai, UAE, in late 2023. The MECC unit led the coordination of RO MENA’s support to IOM’s engagement in COP 27, including the consolidation of technical inputs to the Egypt Presidency’s initiatives, the organization of lead-up and side events with other thematic units, and overall support to the IOM delegation. Support to IOM’s engagement in COP 28 will remain a key priority for the MECC unit in 2023.