The International Organization for Migration (IOM), as the leading intergovernmental migration agency, has been at the forefront of operational, research, policy and advocacy efforts, seeking to bring environmental migration to the heart of international, regional and national concerns in collaboration with its Member States, observers and partners.
Since 2007, member states requested IOM within its governing bodies to work on migration, environment and climate change. At the beginning of 2015, a dedicated Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Division was created to address the migration, environment and climate nexus. This institutional change has formalized IOM’s engagement in this thematic area, making IOM the first international organization to have established an institutional unit fully devoted to this topic. Through its Migration, Environment and Climate Change Division, within the Department of Migration Management, IOM oversees, supports and coordinates the development of policy guidance for activities with a migration, environment and climate change dimension.
IOM recognizes the necessity to step up national, regional and international efforts to address human mobility challenges associated with environmental factors and climate change. IOM’s vision on migration, environment and climate change is that contemporary migration governance, policy and practice must reflect the significance of environmental, disaster and climate change factors on human mobility. Environmental factors must be integrated across all areas of migration management, such as: prevention, preparedness and response to displacement, border management, labour migration and integration, and return and reintegration.
IOM’s objectives concerning migration, environment and climate change are:
- To prevent forced migration that results from environmental factors to the extent possible;
- To provide assistance and protection to affected populations when forced migration does occur in situations of environmental and climate change, and to seek durable solutions to their situation;
- To facilitate migration in the context of climate change adaptation and enhance the resilience of affected communities.