The climate change & migration nexus in a global context. What role for the EU in protecting climate migrants?


Climate change and environmental degradation have accelerated global migration flows and are continuously impacting the livelihood and mobility patterns of vulnerable populations across the world. As the scale of these interregional and cross-border flows continues to rise, the consequences for the life and survival of the most vulnerable communities are becoming devastating. Although the links between climate change and migration are complex and difficult to identify, there is an increasing recognition among researchers and policy-makers about the importance of environmental factors as an additional trigger for displacement and migration.

Given its historical responsibility as one of the major emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, the EU should take a leading role in addressing this challenge and implementing actions on climate-induced migration. How can the EU make use of its existing legal and policy instruments in the context of environment-related forms of migration and displacement? How could complementary legal tools such as the subsidiary protection under the Qualification Directive and Temporary Protection Directive be made operational in order to tackle this challenge? Will the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for ´Loss and Damage´ during COP22 lead to recognizing ´loss and damage´ as a core element of climate action and guide the design of long-term financial and legal instruments to address it?

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Date of Publication
July 2016
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
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