Climate migration or displacement has not been discussed at the Conference of Parties 22 (COP 22) in Marrakech even if it is a popular concern for many around the world.
COP 22, organised by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is supposed to discuss many the issues of the Paris Agreement which were adopted in last year’s Conference of Parties (COP 21).
The Paris Agreement, which has already come into force on October 4 incorporated many useful ideas but at the same time it has failed to include the much-needed agenda of most vulnerable countries — the fate of climate migrants.
While the global political leaders regard the issue as unimportant, the civil society leaders have emphasied on this issue at the Cop 22 venue.
Since the inauguration of the climate conference in Morocco, several events are being held on the side by different groups from all around the world – including demonstrations, discussions and press briefings – which have taken place to discuss climate displacement.
Besides the civil society leaders, several high government officials including the Bangladeshi Environment secretary; high officials from United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nation Human Rights, and Platform on Disaster Displacement (a state led initiative, where Germany is the chair, Bangladesh is the vice chair, around 30 countries including Canada, France, European Union and Switzerland are the members); and members from WIM (Warsaw International Mechanism) executive committee have participated at these events.
These activities only mark how important the issue of climate migration and why it is essential to discuss it at COP 22.
In addition, an interesting leaflet titled “Republic of Humanity Passport” that has been distributed in the COP 22 premises consists of statistics of displacement and the unequal emissions by countries.
According to the leaflet, “climate refugees” who do not have legal protection by the UN 1951 Geneva convention, do not have really have any rights to freely move across the borders even if they are innocent victims of global warming.
The leaflet also mentions the number of people who had to leave homes because of catastrophes: Typhon Hainan in Philippines displaced 2 million, Sahel drought 3.5 million and Pakistan floods 20 million people. According to IOM (International Organization for Migration) one in thirty people in the world are displaced due to climate change.
UNHCR reports that 83% of the climate migration occurs in developing counties.
Since the start of its participation and as a victim of climate change, Bangladesh is one of the counties who overtly emphaised and raised the issue of climate migration in the global forum.
However, this pressing issue for the vulnerable countries is not getting attention of the global leaders and could not get space in the Paris Agreement.
Now it all comes down to countries like Bangladesh to try and push this effort forward and come up with a solution for climate displacement under the task force of WIM in reference to the Doha decision (2012) 3/CP. 18 (section vi in page 23).