Climate Migration and Refugees

What are Climate Migration and Climate Refugees?

One of the biggest consequences of the climate crisis affecting our lives is extreme weather events. People living in regions where extreme weather events occur experience loss of life and property and therefore migrate to regions with better climatic conditions. These people who have to leave their homes due to the effects of climate change on the environment are called climate/environmental refugees or migrants, and their migration is called climate migration. These migrations, which have become a problem even today, are expected to increase day by day. This threatens the social order and security of individuals and puts their lives in danger.


  • Climate Refugees According to Data
  • Legal Status of Climate Refugees
  • What needs to be done 
  • Climate Refugees According to Data

Experts call on decision-makers to take urgent action to prevent climate migration in the future. Suzan Ilık Bilben, a researcher at the Migration Research Foundation, states that extreme weather events were the cause of more than 89 percent of disaster-related migration between 2010 and 2019. The same data shows that 1 in 3 people are at risk of becoming climate migrants in 2070.

According to the World Bank's Groundswell report, the effects of climate change will force 216 million people to migrate within the country due to climate conditions by 2050. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than one billion people will have to leave their homes for climate-related reasons.

Legal Status of Climate Refugees

When migrants are classified according to their reasons for migration, although we call those who migrate due to environmental and climatic conditions "climate refugees", the legal meaning of this word is controversial. Climate refugees have not been included in the 1951 Geneva Conventions, the United Nations convention on refugees. At the same time, environmental disasters, such as extreme weather events, often lead to internal displacement in the first place. Therefore, there are legal criticisms (by various experts and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) that it does not fit the definition of "refugee" for migrants not to leave the country in the immediate aftermath of environmental degradation or disasters. Since the status of climate refugees is not clarified under international law, states are not obliged to protect climate refugees. Therefore, climate refugees are not included in the legal regulations of most states, and climate refugees are not provided protection.

What needs to be done

What Should States and Societies Do?

  •  Achieve international consensus on the definition and status of climate refugees and promote legislation to protect climate migrants, even if they do not qualify as refugees.
  •  Develop adaptation policies against climate change.
  •  Fund research on the impacts of climate change on people, society, and health.
  •  Build communities resilient to the climate crisis and other risk factors.

What Can Individuals Do?

  •  Join and support communities helping refugees.
  •  Call on decision-makers to develop policies for climate refugees


No comments

Post a Comment

Mega Menu