PACJA and ACPC/UNECA are gearing up for a high level side event on the sidelines of the upcoming 2019 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa running from 8-9th February that will interrogate the nexus between climate change and migration in the continent. This is in line with the declared theme of AU as the year of Refugees Returnees and Internally displaced persons
This is in the background that large numbers of people are already and will be displaced from their homes and land through the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, sea level rise and depletion of drinking waters and other vital resources. Furthermore, the unplanned and planned displacement of people as a result of climate change triggers multiplies stress factors, including conflict. Governments are beginning to act: COP24 adopted a landmark set of recommendations to respond to the growing risk of displacement linked to climate change Yet, without far stronger efforts to reduce emissions, tens or hundreds of millions more people in Africa and the rest of the world face displacement.
Critically, developed countries remain evasive on their responsibility to support African countries to adapt and mitigate the effects of the climate change crisis and to provide assistance to these vulnerable communities – for example public climate finance for Least Developed Countries(LDCs) and adaptation is being neglected, and grants are being increasingly replaced by loans. This should ring bells of concern in the context of warnings about the rising burden of debt that already causing multiples challenges in some African Countries and the future African debt crisis in general. CoP24 agreed rules designed to give the confidence that long promised support will be delivered, yet loopholes remain, and follow-up work is needed to ensure additional and adequate support reaches those those who need it most
Appropriate strategies should be advanced to address the causes of climate-displacement, and to take measures for these people’s resettlement and rehabilitation in a dignified way. More importantly, adequate assistance and protection for people who are displaced internally and
across borders should be availed through appropriate policies and programs.The 2019 African Union theme, “the year of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons” is thus an opportunity to raise the profile and make climate migration more prominent
than ever. This is the year for African policy makers to provide guidance and build
understanding on the subject.
The recommendations made at the CoP24 ask countries to consider creating new laws and policies to deal with displacement, to enhance data collection and research on migration, and to consider the needs of migrants themselves—and of the communities where they end up. The high level event hosted by ACPC/UNECA and PACJA will deeply reflect on the trends and conversations on the nexus between climate change, displacement, migration and conflict, and come up with recommendations for the Heads of State Summit. A way forward and plan of
action for subsequent conversations and outreach will also be developed.