2 June 2009
Until recently, climate change research and negotiations have focused almost exclusively on the imperative of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming. Scientific findings suggest that climatic changes are accelerating (IPCC 2007). Now, however, it is clear that emissions reductions efforts have been too little, too late. Therefore, the challenges and complex politics of adaptation are joining those of mitigation at the centre of policy debates.
This raises the importance for the international community to speed up learning about effective adaptation. One of the most important tasks will be to quickly improve understanding of how climate change and other environmental changes affect migration, and identify and implement ways to help affected people adapt to these changes. In any given location, migration is both an adaptation strategy and a failure of adaptive capacity.
In order to bring the topic of climate change and human mobility on the agenda of the climate negotiations, UNU-EHS, UNHCR, CARE and the University of Columbia engaged in research and jointly launched the publication “In search of shelter: mapping the effects of climate change on human migration”.
This publication explores the challenges and relevant human security dimensions posed by climate change and environmentally induced migration. It assesses how environmental factors, especially climate change, affect vulnerable groups, and how environmental pressures may motivate people to seek new horizons, or force people to flee their homes for survival.
This side events aims at raising awareness on the topic of climate change and human displacement by bringing together experts and climate negotiators. By giving an overview of the outcomes of the study and possible implications for the climate negotiations, the side event will push the knowledge envelope and strive to foster a discussion on the context of this controversial topic with delegates of the UNFCCC.
Furthermore, the session shall serve as the groundwork for a reception on the same topic, to be held in Bonn’s Old City Hall starting from 20:00. Within this reception, climate change and migration will stand in the focus of comments by Mayor Paul Finger (City of Bonn) Prof. Rita Suessmuth (Chairperson of CARE Germany), Prof. Dr. Mizan Khan (Department of Environmental Science & Management, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh).
This reception will be followed by a delegate dinner which will provide a platform for key delegates to discuss in-depth on the issues and questions raised by country delegates during the side event.
The structure of the side-event is threefold: First, experts who where involved in the study will present outcomes and the views and experiences in the filed of human displacement of their organisations. Second, delegates from countries affected by climate change will provide their respective perspectives and give insights into their specific problems regarding human mobility and climate change. Third, the session will welcome questions from the floor and foster an audience discussion in order to identify key questions that have to be considered in the context of the negotiations.
The diverse audience will range from climate negotiators working on adaptation over humanitarian organisations and NGOs to representatives of different country delegations to other experts and the science community. The audience will mainly include policy makers but also academics, researchers and/or advocacy groups.
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