June 20, 2023 Tuesday
Climate Change Commissioner Rachel Anne S. Herrera and International Centre for Climate Change and Development Director Saleemul Huq, OBE, join the Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council Senior Officials' Dialogue to discuss the nexus of climate change and migration
MANILA, 20 June 2023 — The Climate Change Commission (CCC) pushed for stronger regional cooperation to strengthen the potential of climate action in the context of migration in the Philippines and in the Asia Gulf region.
CCC Commissioner Rachel Anne S. Herrera joined the session of the Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Senior Officials' Dialogue where she highlighted the pressing threat of climate change and its profound impact on human mobility.
Climate hazards drive involuntary global migration and displacement, with weather-related extremes displacing over 20 million people annually since 2008, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Moreover, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) projects that 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.
Commissioner Herrera acknowledged the significance of the human element of choice to address the challenges of climate change-related 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,” Commissioner Herrera said.
Herrera stressed the need for a comprehensive approach that goes beyond conventional notions of adaptation to address the challenges faced by displaced individuals, including employment, healthcare, and security.
“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 healthcare services, and so on,” she emphasized.
Commissioner Herrera highlighted the role of local government units (LGUs) in addressing climate risks and developing local climate change action plans, and also acknowledged the importance of international support in integrating human mobility into national climate policies and programs.
To strengthen the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration for the Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council, she recommended four areas of collaboration: (1) Conducting climate risk assessments and addressing loss and damage; (2) Enhancing climate targets and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); (3) Formulating National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) based on scientific evidence; and (4) Supporting local governments in implementing risk-based adaptation interventions.
“For millions of people exposed to climate hazards now and in the future, I believe it is our obligation, as leaders in our governments and as members of the Asia-GCC, to open real opportunities for them to choose and live a better life,” Herrera concluded.
Professor Saleemul Huq OBE, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), supported Commissioner Herrera’s statement, acknowledging that migration is also a viable adaptation strategy.
“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,” said Prof. Huq.
The CCC commits to advancing climate action and collaboration with stakeholders by leveraging expertise and insights on the complex relationship between climate change and migration.
“Addressing issues related to migration and forced displacements directly translates to saving lives, livelihoods and future of population and communities,” said CCC Vice Chairperson and Executive Director Robert E.A. Borje.
“In the long run, this intervention does not only address loss and damage, but likewise contribute to the larger scope of climate change adaptation and mitigation,” he added.
The event served 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.
The dialogue is hosted by the Department of Migrant Workers of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, the City of Taguig, and with the support of the United Nations Network on Migration, the International Organization for Migration, the International Labour Organization, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
For more information on the Climate Change Commission’s climate mainstreaming activities, visit https://climate.gov.ph and www.facebook.com/cccphl.