Latin America and the Caribbean: Policy approaches to climate migration
By Pablo Escribano
Attributing human mobility to actual or perceived changes in the environment is difficult, as migration responds to many dynamics, not just climatic drivers. Taking the example of Central America, much has been written about the effects of climate change on the livelihoods of local communities, but these drivers also interact with structural problems of poverty, unemployment, inequality and violence, which play a crucial role in migration decisions. Similarly, some populations are severely affected by climate change but are not able or do not want to migrate.
The need for better information on climate migration is a key priority for policymakers. Recent global frameworks on this area specifically reflect this need, including the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Objectives 1 and 2h) and the recommendations of the Task Force on Displacement under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1c).
Latin America and the Caribbean are extremely exposed to the adverse impacts of climate change, in terms of both sudden-onset events and long-term processes. However, while climate policy is quite advanced in the region, the overall integration of migration in climate frameworks remains quite weak.