IOM and University of Galway Publish Europe’s First Country Profile on Migration, Environment and Climate Change

Rural and coastal Ireland. Source ©Unsplash 2019/Andi KULSE

Dublin – A new report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Ryan Institute at the University of Galway has found that Ireland’s long-term sustainability could be threatened due to a warming planet and increasing environmental degradation.

The report is the first Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) Country Profile in Europe and adds to IOM’s growing number of country reports which assess the evidence of the effects of climate change on migration.

Climate change is reshaping migration patterns around the world, with disasters now being the leading cause of internal displacements. Last year alone, 32.6 million new internal human displacements were caused by disasters, according to the 2023 Global Report on Internal Displacement, published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

Dr Soumyadeep Banerjee, IOM Regional Migration, Environment and Climate Change Specialist, highlighted that in response to the climate crisis, IOM now has extensive activities underway on the migration, environment and climate change nexus, working with governments and partners on solutions at each stage of the migration cycle.

“Climate and migration is a growing issue for countries around the world, including for Ireland. This report includes solutions for people to move, people on the move, and people to stay,” he added.

The report “Assessing the Evidence: Migration, Environment and Climate Change in Ireland” noted that due to increased frequency and intensity of extreme storms, floods and sea level rise, some communities in Ireland are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change, due to much of Ireland’s population residing in coastal zones.

The report also includes advantages and opportunities for Ireland to build upon and strengthen climate resilience, including by better supporting vulnerable communities and improving understanding of the advantages of human mobility and of people on the move.

International development, climate and migration expert Dr Una Murray within the Ryan Institute said: “The IOM Country Profile for Ireland encourages government and relevant stakeholders to consider key challenges and opportunities arising from the migration, environment and climate change nexus. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 10.7 calls on countries to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.”

Darya Silchenko, one of the authors and a graduate of University of Galway’s Masters in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, said: “The report found that there is a scarcity of research and policy efforts that integrate climate change and environmental hazards in Ireland with their impacts on human migration. With climate change adaptation as an increasingly urgent national and global priority, it is vital to adopt a precautionary approach that considers the impacts for vulnerable communities. Further aligning migration and climate policies will be essential to build capacity for addressing present and future challenges through an inclusive and human-centered approach."

The report was compiled by a team from IOM and the Ryan Institute at the University of Galway, including Ms Darya Silchenko, Mr Andrew Chisholm, Dr Una Murray, Dr Peter McKeown, Prof Charles Spillane and Ms Lalini Veerassamy.

The full IOM Country Profile can be accessed through the IOM Environmental Migration Portal here.

For further information, please contact:

IOM Ireland: Andrew Chisholm at or Angelica Trinidade at

University of Galway:, or for media queries

The International Organization for Migration

Established in 1951, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is part of the United Nations System as the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration. With 175 member states and presence in over 100 countries, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. The Organization works with its partners in the international community to assist in meeting the operational challenges of migration, advance understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration and to uphold the well-being and human rights of all migrants. 

Ryan Institute at University of Galway

The Ryan Institute is University of Galway’s largest research institute. Its sustainability research mission spans four thematic research areas 1) Marine & Coastal 2) Energy & Climate Change 3) Agriculture & BioEconomy 4) Environment & Health. It is comprised of 99 Research Groups and 12 Research Clusters, responsible for over 350 funded research projects comprising ~20% of the overall research income of University of Galway.

About University of Galway

Established in 1845, University of Galway is one of the top 2% of universities in the world. We are in the top 50 universities globally for sustainable development in line with the United Nations SDGs. We are a bilingual university, comprised of four colleges, 18 schools and five research institutes, with more than 19,000 students, including around 3,000 international students. We are the only university in Ireland designated a Government of Ireland Sustainable Development Champion.

SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 15 - Life on land