• Lead-organizer: Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED)
  • 13:30 - 15:00
  • Date: 17 Jun 2012
  • Room: T-8

The Role of Climate Induced Displacement in Socio-economic Development

Organizing partners

RAED will be the lead organizer.
Other organizing Partners:
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC),
Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE)
Arab Office for Youth and Environment (AOYE)
The World Bank (TBD)
League of Arab States (TBD)
Egyptian Government Representative (s) (TBC)


Middle East is one of the most climate sensitive regions. According to latest IPCC assessment, the climate is predicted to become even hotter and drier in most of the MENA region. It is further estimated that an additional 80?100 million people will be exposed by 2025 to water stress that is likely to result in an even stronger pressure on groundwater resources. In addition,they are expected to fluctuate more widely, ultimately falling to a significantly lower long-term average. Global models predict sea levels rising from about 0.1 to 0.3 meters by the year 2050, and from about 0.1 to 0.9 meters by 2100. In the case of extreme scenarios (0.5), 12 millions are expected to be displaced in Egypt alone. It will be critical for the governments plan to answer and prioritize these new threats from more multi dimensional scenarios in order to keep social and political stability

Detailed programme

Thematic focus:
Clearly much displacement can be caused by economic pressures such as decreasing agricultural yields, for example, due to lack of water; cyclical droughts; capitalization of agricultural assets; lack of national investments in modernizing agricultural processes and general lack sustainability for rural dwellers. Climatic changes will then be the trigger point escalating other environmental problems leading to a situation where people are forced to flee from their homes. However, the issue of displacement for socio-economic reasons is complex and a well-known phenomenon but it is not always directly linked to how people cope with the medium and long term impacts of climate variability.

Furthermore it is virtually impossible to isolate one single cause of climate induced displacement; it is highly unlikely create a correct mix of causes. There is therefore a clear need to understand how disaster risk reduction measures and climate change adaptation measures - or the lack thereof ? cause displacement for the people and communities at risk. Considering that natural disaster induced displacement undermine development goals and jeopardize investments made, RAED will advocate for a particularly vulnerable to and are experiencing increased negative impacts from climate change, which is severely undermining food security and efforts to eradicate poverty, and also threatens the territorial integrity which is called for in the zero draft (88-89) of the RIO+20 outcomes.

The side event will high light the following specific areas;

a.Call for policy change:

The obvious challenge for any Government related to climate induced displacement will be to organize alternative space for people from delta regions and to ensure work opportunities so they can earn a living existing rural-urban migration patterns.

Climate and environmental change do play a role in displacement, and the true impacts on displaced communities will only be assessed based on where they are able to resettle and how they are received. In the phase of re-settlement and finding durable solutions will other factors such as the availability of non-farm employment and crop insurance, access to irrigation, fertilizer and drought-resistant seeds, governments' drought relief policies, social protection programmes, education and heath care systems play a major role. In terms of host communities, the impacts of climate change-related displacement are expected to affect all sectors, including health, employment and urban planning.

In spite of its growing importance, this global theme lacks political leadership. Both states in the Arab region and the international community have largely failed to systematically include these concerns in policy and practice. The Arab region is in a transactional phase where stability is a priority, a sound approach to protect development gains made and ensure the best possible conditions for democracy and financial development is needed.

b.Call for research supporting evidence based policy development:

There is a clear need for development of a vision of how human population movements, including displacement will be affected by climatic changes between now and 2060. Especially the links between displacement and climate change are particularly important for dry lands and low-elevation costal zones as in the Arab region. The range and complexity of the interaction between these drivers still not documented to such an extent that they can guide policy development and mitigation plans for the population at risk. This knowledge gap needs to be filled.

RAED is in collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have addressed the mentioned knowledge gap with conducting a desk study of climate changes role in resettlement, return and durable solutions for displaced and refugees. The study will function as a preliminary phase to a potential larger undertaking and the event will be used as a platform to highlight some of the findings in the study.

Format of the event:
The event will be in the form of a panel discussion lead up by Arab organizations. The speakers in person are not yet named, but the following institutions will be on the panel: RAED, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), MIO-ECSDE, Arab Office for Youth and Environment (AOYE), the World Bank and League of Arab States.
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