COP20: Walter Kaelin, The Nansen Initiative

COP20 (11/12/14) – The Nansen Initiative looks at displacement in the context of climate change related disasters. 27 million people are displaced annually due to disasters, 80-90% of which are climate related. In the last 6 years, more than 160 million have been displaced, more than those displaced due to conflicts. Kaelin explains that the main issue is that international laws don’t recognise or protect climate change migrants.

In a series of intergovernmental consultations it was found that just focusing on how to support climate migrants was too narrow. There needs to be a focus on preventing displacement which is essentially climate change adaptation as well as factor in mobility into climate change adaptation plans. Other areas that need attention as disaster risk reduction, facilitating voluntary migration and better protecting those internally displaced. Displacement due to climate change related disasters needs to be part of the climate change agreement.