In his 2015 interview, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Turk, highlighted climate change effects as a factor in the displacements or movement of people from one area to another.
According to Turk, the 5th Assessment report of the IPCC identifies a growing trend in displacement and projects it to increase because of climate change effects like droughts, desertification, environmental degradation. These events can lead to food scarcity and loss of livelihoods which can trigger tensions and unrest or, worse, violent conflicts.
Turk says that when one analyzes the deeper causes of conflict, it results from various factors. According to him, before the conflict broke out in Syria, years of drought had caused people to move out of their area to urban places.
Turk identified the region of Asia and developing countries as the most vulnerable places to extreme natural events. He says that the root causes of vulnerabilities usually stems from the following factors:
- the government and communities lack the preparation to respond to natural hazards in terms of a structure in place or contingency plans,
- there is no disaster risk reduction funding, and
- a lack of national adaptation plans to deal with disasters and natural hazards.
UNHCR’s New Visual report
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, released a new data visualization, “Displaced on the frontlines of climate change” – through photos, graphs, and interactive maps.
The report points to the world’s regions where displacements, poverty, and hostile conflicts are happening and how climate emergencies converge with these threats that drive people’s displacements and increase their vulnerabilities.
According to the report, “UNHCR is working to reduce the risks that extreme weather events pose to refugees and internally displaced people. The agency is calling on States to urgently and collectively take action to combat climate change and mitigate its impacts on the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. It also urges states to step up their protection and assistance to people displaced by disasters and the effects of climate change.”
To know what regions in the world are experiencing displacements and conflicts linked to climate change, click the link below:
UNHCR. (2015, December 1). How Climate Change Impacts Human Displacement. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2nTq67So3U
Data visualization reveals impacts of climate change on displacement. (2021, April 22). UNHCR. Retrieved from https://www.unhcr.org/uk/news/press/2021/4/60811c554/data-visualization-reveals-impacts-climate-change-displacement.html