Specialized Regional Event to Discuss Alarming Impacts of Climate Change on Human Mobility in MENA

Cairo - 21 September 2023. Ahead of COP28 and International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) – taking place later this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has organized a specialized regional event to discuss the serious impact of climate change on human lives and mobility in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. 

The MENA region - one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to climate change - suffers severe water-stress levels (12 of the 17 most water-stressed countries are in the region), rapid urbanization, and varying adaptive capacity. 

The one-day event, named “Future of Human Mobility and Climate Change in the Middle East and North Africa Region” which takes place in Cairo, brings together governments representatives, UN agencies, academics, and IOM thematic specialists. The event seeks to unravel the multi-dimensional implications of the climate change and human mobility nexus, focusing on protection risks faced by vulnerable populations, the interlinkages between climate change and fragility, as well as introducing some good practices and initiatives that have been addressing the gaps and challenges of migration in the context of climate change.

The outcomes and recommendations of this event will be key to ensure that regional perspectives and contributions are taken into account during IOM’s upcoming global inter-governmental and multi-stakeholder International Dialogue on Migration (IDM).

“This dialogue is extremely timely as we are experiencing first-hand the devastating impacts of climate change and disasters on human mobility in the MENA region.” Said, Othman Belbeisi, IOM MENA Regional Director. ““Moving forward, we need to further deepen our understanding of such multi-dimensional implications of the climate change and human mobility nexus through bringing together diverse perspectives and experiences from regional bodies, UN partners, academia, and research entities, as well as civil society organizations.”
The MENA region covers some of the world’s most active mixed migratory routes as well as the leading destination countries of migrant workers which adds complexity to the climate change-human mobility nexus. In 2022 alone, 305,000 persons were newly displaced internally by climate disasters in MENA and several countries are affected by conflict and fragility with 12.7 million people remaining displaced by conflict and violence by the end of 2022.

The impact of climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities of people on the move, especially those in irregular status or at risk of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. On the other hand, human mobility can also have an adverse impact on the environment, especially in complex fragile contexts, where population movements from rural to urban areas can leave lands abandoned, and therefore, increasing the risks of slow-onset events such as desertification.


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SDG 13 - Climate Action