Regional Conference on Migration deepens dialogue on human mobility and climate change

In order to reinforce the inclusion of disaster-derived human mobility due to the impact of climate change, the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) hosted the Workshop on Human Mobility in the Context of Disasters, Environmental Degradation and Climate Change, held in Panama City on April 26 and 27, with over 40 participants from governmental institutions, UN agencies and civil society. The workshop also aimed to facilitate a discussion to update the work of RCM considering major regional and global advances, including intersectoral dialogues on migration, consular protection, environment, risk reduction and emergency response. 

The region is particularly exposed and vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Various sudden-onset hazards –such as hurricanes and seismic activity–, as well as gradual hazards –such as drought, desertification, and sea level rise–, linked to processes of environmental degradation and high levels of social vulnerability, have influenced various forms and patterns of human mobility, including disaster displacement and other more voluntary forms of migration, planned relocations, as well as immobility scenarios. 

Through this workshop, the RCM seeks to open a dialogue and discussion to address common perspectives related to the different forms of mobility related to those issues. The workshop will also strengthen the RCM Member Countries’ understanding of the negotiation processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the climate-migration nexus, with particular attention to aspects related to loss and damage resulting from the climate crisis. 

“It is essential to continue the dialogue, improve regional coordination and consider an update in terms of relevant practices and challenges related to human mobility in the context of disasters, climate change and environmental degradation. It is vital to develop a harmonization between the practice and regulations to build synergies in protection and assistance to the vulnerable persons affected”, said Andrea Dabizzi, coordinator of the IOM’s Western Hemisphere Program.  

In this regard, the workshop meets the objectives 2 and 7 of the Global Compact for Migration in terms of the addressing of displacements linked to climate and disasters; as well as the Declaration of Los Angeles in its pillar IV, referring to the cooperation in emergency response and humanitarian assistance in situations of mass migration. 

As a follow-up to the activities of the workshop, it was agreed to update the “Guide to Effective Practices for RCM Member Countries: Protection for Persons Moving Across Borders in the Context of Disasters”, adopted in 2016, as well as to encourage ongoing discussion of the issue of climate change displacement within the RCM and existing regulations in the region. 

The specific migration focus of the RCM allows for a technical approach to human mobility that complements approaches to disaster risk management and climate action, also supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) (formerly the Nansen Initiative) in many countries of the region.  

The Western Hemisphere Program provided technical support to the RCM to organize this activity, which was possible thanks to the support of the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). For more information on the Workshop, please contact Efraín Guerrero at

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
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