As world leaders gathered Wednesday at the United Nations in New York to rally for more aggressive climate action, the heads of some of the most vulnerable nations met on the sidelines to highlight the daunting challenges they face as extreme weather forces millions of people to flee their homes. The problem is here already, they said, and it will only get worse unless governments slash emissions and prepare for what will effectively be a new world map.
Speaking at the Climate Mobility Summit, leaders from nations such as Guatemala and Somalia, which are seeing tremendous population shifts driven by climate change, projected a message that wealthy countries must work with developing ones to better manage a swelling flow of global migration.
While the majority of the world’s migrants move within their own countries or regions, millions have also sought work and refuge in the United States and Europe in recent years, causing political upheaval and backlashes against immigration.
Amy Pope, director general-elect of the International Organization for Migration and a co-host of the summit, opened with a story about a recent trip to a refugee camp in Kenya, which she said had hosted more than 100,000 people who have fled Somalia, in large part because of a devastating drought there. Pope said she met people who had tried to return to Somalia, only to turn back after finding that the drought had made raising crops or livestock impossible. [Continue reading…]