Climate impacts will force 216 million people to move by 2050

Climate change cannot be considered the sole driver of food insecurity or migration; However, it increases pressure on existing systems and communities

More than 216 million people across six continents will be on the move within their countries by 2050 in large part due to climate change.

The World Migration Report 2024 released by the United Nations on May 8, 2024, stated that more human beings are being displaced by force today than at any other time in humankind’s history. Such forced displacement is being further exacerbated by environmental impacts and climate change.

Climate change cannot be considered the sole driver of food insecurity or migration. Political power, incompetent governance, globalised food production, and other social factors also play a crucial role in human migration. However, climate change increases pressure on existing systems and communities. According to the report, migration is a coping or adaptation strategy to reduce the adverse effects of climate change.

In Asia, the Indian subcontinent or southern Asia has seen its fair share of climate-related displacement within countries in recent years.

The 2022 floods in Pakistan — some of the deadliest in the country’s history — resulted in nearly 1,700 deaths and more than 8 million displacements. Bangladesh, a low-lying country located at the head of the Bay of Bengal, records thousands of displacements every year due to disasters. In 2022 alone, disasters triggered over 1.5 million displacements in Bangladesh,” according to the report.

The Americas, Caribbean, and Oceania too face daunting challenges because of climate-related internal displacement. Floods in 2022 in Brazil displaced over 700,000 people while rain and floods caused most of the 281,000 disaster displacements in Colombia the same year.

The Global North too is not unaffected by climate-related displacement. In North America, both Canada and the United States are vulnerable.

In Canada, tens of thousands of people had been displaced and millions of acres burned by June 2023, as wildfires raged for weeks.

Displacement caused by climate or other factors that lead to migration also has other effects such as money sent in the form of remittances back to migrant homelands. The report noted that India made history by becoming the first country to have received the highest remittances in 2022, a whopping $111 billion, surpassing all other nations.

Migration is as old as Humanity itself. What captures attention in headlines is just part of the story. The report aims to ensure that migration is leveraged effectively as a solution to human development, peace, and prosperity throughout the world.

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