Climate Change, Migration and Security

© GIZ / Markus Kirchgessner

Climate change impacts - but also climate protection measures - can intensify existing conflict situations as well as existing grievances and social inequality and thus contribute significantly to conflict, flight and migration. GIZ is therefore cooperating with a large number of partners to establish the topic of "Climate and Security" more firmly in international climate and development policy.

People leave their home countries for a number of different reasons. Their central concern is the search for work, income, and peace and security. In many regions of the world, these factors are increasingly influenced by the consequences of climate change, such as droughts, floods and extreme weather occurrences. Quality of life suffers and human lives are thus endangered.  Leaving their home countries on a permanent basis to escape an environment that has become unbearable is often the last resort for those affected.

Conflict situations, whether political or climate-induced, threaten to undo climate policy successes achieved over the past decades as well as project successes in the context of development cooperation. In foreign and security policy, the debate on climate change and security has already arrived and is being addressed in relevant forums (e. g., at the Munich Security Conference and, in particular, the UN Security Council).

Against this context, the urgent questions for GIZ are:

  • What contributions can climate projects make to securing peace, thereby also safeguarding the successes already achieved by development cooperation in the long term?
  • What project structure and instruments are needed to make climate policy conflict-sensitive, especially in fragile contexts?

As the climate crisis continues, flight and migration will also increase. A 2018 World Bank research study estimates that up to 143 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America will migrate within their countries by 2050 as a result of climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels or a decline in water availability.

In giving advice on climate and security, GIZ therefore adopts a holistic approach that takes into account both the negative consequences of climate change, related climate-induced migration and conflict, and appropriate necessary governance issues.

Prevention of climate-induced conflicts and mitigation of climate change impacts as well as advice on transformation processes (in the sense of a Just Transition) may reduce the need for climate-induced migration.