Discussion on the effects of the climate change on migration has attracted public attention

On the occasion of publishing of the Minority Rights Group International's annual report on the trends in the field of minorities and indigenous peoples in 2019, we organized a discussion in English language about Climate Change: its impacts and climate refugees.

Representatives of Minority Rights Group International, Carl Söderbergh (Director of Policy & Communications) and Anna Alboth (Media Programs Coordinator), as well as Director of the Human Rights League, Zuzka Števulová, lead the discussion. It took place on June 27th, 2019 at Lab Cafe and we were happy to see how it attracted the public's attention. Participants were actively participating in the discussion and got involved with the speakers in a dialogue even after the event ended.

Trends of the report for 2019 are clear: climate change further reinforces inequalities and disproportionately affects minorities and indigenous peoples, according to MRG’s annual Trends Report 
Minority Rights Group International 2019 edition of its annual ‘Minority and Indigenous Trends’ report  focuses on the distinct impact that climate change has on minorities and indigenous peoples as the discrimination and exclusion they face around the world leave them disproportionately vulnerable to its effects. 

Although the climate crisis leaves no country or community unaffected, its social impacts deepen the inequalities of the world’s most marginalised. Minorities and indigenous peoples are already acutely feeling its consequences before many other communities. Several families and communities have already started to suffer from the consequences of climate change, which has forced them to leave their homes. It especially concerns the most vulnerable people who are marginalised already and did not contribute to the problem themselves, yet they will bear the brunt of the most severe impacts. According to estimates climate change alone will force more than 140 millions to flee their homes, among them the most vulnerable minorities and indigenous peoples. For instance:
  •  Pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in countries such as Chad where changes to the climate are severe, are having their traditionally nomadic way of life challenged by factors such as desertification, drought and reduced rainfall. Changing weather patterns and a lack of resources have disrupted traditional migration routes and intensified competition and conflict with other sedentary communities.
  • For low-lying Pacific island states such as Kiribati, rising sea levels pose an existential threat to a wealth of cultural and spiritual traditions tied to ancestral lands. Faced with the prospect of an uninhabitable homeland, the Kiribati government is planning a resettlement of much of its population. Even if these countries avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the decades to come, their unique heritage could face extinction due to forced displacement. 
During the discussion, we also explained  whether there is a term “climate refugees” from the perspective of international law, or how the international community can help to prevent these people from leaving their homes.

You can watch the video stream here

This discussion was supported within the project Migration Compass funded from the Operational Programme Effective Public Administration of the European Social Fund.