ArticoloDiario COP21

Climate and migration, a close relation

Equipe Ecojesuit
On December the 5th, the negotiators at COP21 agreed on a draft deal text. It's now time for the ministers to negotiate and work out the final agreement. They will have a hard task, as it remains more than 900 different options to be negotiated. 

Between the most surprising points, the civil society was shocked on Thursday the 3rd when it was disclosed that the reference to the "human rights" had disappeared from the Article 2 of the draft. Indeed, the Article 2 defines the purpose of the Paris’ Agreement. Not recognizing the framework of the “human rights”, and consequently their violations, as the grounds for the Agreement was not, certainly, a good signal. Happily, the draft revised on December the 5th contains the reference to the “human rights” in the Article 2, although between brackets, that is, it has yet to be discussed. Something to follow attentively.

It's inside this general “human rights” discussion that we'd like to focus today on one particular theme: migrants and climate change. As it was discussed in a conference organized by the Nicolas Hulot's Foundation, in Le Bourget, on December the 4th , migrations is not a central topic in the negotiations.

However, the reality shows the strong linkage between the two topics. Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, pointed out: “Today, 20 to 26 millions of people are displaced every year because of the climate change” which is more than forced displacements linked to armed conflicts, according to the UN. 

Can we then conclude that nothing is done at the international level and that we are generally blind in front of this issue as it could be suggested by the non-reference at COP21? Certainly not; there is a long way in front of us, but some steps have already been taken. We would like to highlight four references from this debate:

1. In framework of the Conferences on Climate Change, Cancun’s final resolution, 2010, took a big step forward when recognizing migrations as an adaptation solution in front of climate change.

2. Mr. Walker Kälin from the Nansen Initiative explained how this Initiative has recently produced a Protection Agenda offering different recommendations and best-practices to support and to protect displaced people by disasters and climate change. On 13th October 2015, 110 countries voluntary endorsed this text. Now it is time to start a new phase of this project and to implement and monitor the solutions given in different countries.

3. Ms. Dina Ionesco, Head of Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), underlined that there are already several legal tools that can be applied to the climate displaced people. For example, when looking at the internal displacement, the international human right laws can be used. The existing problem is less due to the lack of legislation than to the real willingness to apply it.

4. Finally, François Gemmene, specialist on migration and environment (CEDEM, CEARC, Ceri-Sciences Po), underlined the key point for both migration issues and environmental problems as discussed in the COP21: what space are we prepared to let to the “other” in our daily life, in our common laws?

Although, it seems difficult that the final agreement in Paris will deal directly with the environmental migration, it is clear that both topics are closely interrelated. And that some international initiatives are already moving forward this issue. Let's hope that COP21 will not slow down these dynamics and, even more, it can helps to arise political and social awareness on this subject.
The Ecojesuit Team

9 dicembre 2015
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