Environmental Migration as Humanitarian Challenge

Kerstin Rosenow-Williams

Humanitarian organisations are often the first groups on site to respond to local needs and are as such key players in addressing environmental migration as a humanitarian challenge. Humanitarian organisations have various advantages in this regard since their perspective includes taking immediate action and responding to needs and vulnerabilities as they evolve. Issues of climate-induced migration require a holistic approach that links humanitarian perspective to that of development and human rights.

This article takes the humanitarian perspective and analyses the challenges but also opportunities in addressing the need of climate induced migrants. Organisations like the Red Cross and Red Crescent are in the forefront when it comes to engaging in environmental migration, both in their advocacy work and in relief and recovery situations. However common struggles include positioning the topic of environmental migration versus other humanitarian disasters. This is also linked to the issue of scarce resources and need to prioritize organisational activities. Enhancing the capacities of humanitarian organisations would allow them to advocate for programs that could prevent environmental displacement through improvement of local living.

Humanitarian organisations - climate change and migration, displacementImage credit: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). From Flickr.com

Chanelle Andrén is a volunteer at UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition and writes the round up of new research on climate change, migration and displacement. Her background is in International Human Rights Law with specialisation in ‘Just Transitions’.

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