Human mobility in the context of climate change

Project description

Title: Human mobility in the context of climate change
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)
Country: Caribbean, East Africa, Pacific, Philippines, West Africa
Overall term: 2017 to 2023



The negative effects of climate change are already having an impact on settlements and economic areas and are consequently influencing migration movements. In future, extreme weather occurrences will become even more frequent and intense, and sea levels will continue to rise. These factors will have an increasing impact on disaster displacement, migration and planned relocation. 

The populations in atoll and island states as well as coastal regions of the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Philippines are especially hard hit by the impacts of climate change, with more intense storms, flooding and rising sea levels posing a particular risk. The regions of East and West Africa are also severely affected, for example by dry spells and flash floods. 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises migration as a strategy for adapting to climate change. The Task Force on Displacement of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage (WIM) has been explicitly addressing the issue of human mobility in the context of climate change since 2017. The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) also acknowledges climate change as a driver for migration and demands that we improve our understanding of and find solutions for migration in the context of natural disasters and climate change. 

Regionally-adapted measures for dealing with climate-induced migration, planned relocation and disaster displacement are essential for the survival of affected populations. For this reason, local governments need practice-based knowledge in order to trial measures and exchange experience with partners.


Development-oriented handling of migration, displacement triggered by disasters, and the voluntary and planned relocation of individuals in the context of climate change has improved.


The project works with national governments, researchers and climate and migration organisations to identify and rectify knowledge gaps. At the same time, it supports exchange processes between partners and disseminates the knowledge gained at international meetings and through platforms. These include events within the framework of the UNFCCC and WIM. 

The activities support regional organisations and national governments in developing their capacities to deal with climate-induced migration, for instance by providing policy-related advice. Particular emphasis is placed on the involvement of and support for vulnerable groups during implementation.


  • The project has supported the development of several national policy measures. In the Philippines, national government agencies have been assisted in incorporating climate-induced migration into the updated National Climate Change Action Plan. In Fiji, the government has introduced guidelines for voluntary planned relocation and displacements in the context of climate change and disasters. The project has promoted these guidelines through a participatory process, ensuring a human rights-centred approach when dealing with climate-induced mobility.
  • The capacities of regional and national actors in the area of climate-induced human mobility in the context of climate change have been improved. Scenario workshops have made actors more aware of how to better evaluate future potential consequences of climate-induced migration. The Commission of the regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has used these results to develop a Strategic Plan for the long-term mainstreaming of climate-induced mobility in the organisation of its Member States. 
  • In the Pacific, the Pacific Resilience Partnership – Technical Working Group on Human Mobility in the context of climate and disaster risk has been set up. Participants include the regional partner Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The working group serves the coordination and exchange between partners and development actors. In the Philippines, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) has been further strengthened in order to place the issue on the political agenda and to plan activities together with national key actors.
  • A ‘Human Mobility, Climate Change and Gender’ compendium has been developed, together with further studies. These address the needs of partners to anchor gender-sensitive approaches in activities in the field of climate-induced mobility in the Pacific.