UNHCR at Rio+20
Climate Change and Displacement
Climate change, global warming and the resulting environmental pressures are among the defining challenges of our times. Climate change interacts with other global mega-trends that are conditioning the future of our planet, including population growth, urbanization, water scarcity, food and energy insecurity, and volatile commodity prices. This is adding to the scale and complexity of human mobility and displacement, and changing their patterns
Owing to this interaction, conflict and competition over scarcer natural resources will push more and more people to flee their homes or relocate to other areas. They will become displaced within their countries or across national borders. Environmentally induced migration and displacement could reach epic dimensions: predictions about the scale of such movements range from 25 million to one billion people by 2050.
Climate change impacts, such as prolonged drought and floods, are already a challenge for UNHCR's operations. That's why the UN refugee agency is engaged on the climate change issue and wants to contribute to the debate about how best to address these challenges, within a humanitarian perspective.
UNHCR chief António Guterres will attend the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also called Rio+20, that will take place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro from June 20-22. In a range of events, Guterres will discuss the changing face of global displacement and its link to sustainable development.
Rio+20 will gather world leaders, government officials, the private sector and non-governmental organizations to discuss how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and preserve the environment.
This sub-site contains reference documents, web stories, photo galleries and videos about the impact of climate change on UNHCR's mandate and on the humanitarian response given by the UN refugee agency to those in need of international protection and affected by environmental pressures.
How UNHCR and partners seek to minimize the environmental impact of refugee operations.
Rio+20 Documents of reference
- Protecting People Crossing Borders in the Context of Climate Change Normative Gaps and Possible Approaches (February 2012)
- Climate Change Induced Displacement: Adaptation Policy in the Context of the UNFCCC Climate Negotiations (May 2011)
- Protecting environmentally displaced people: Developing the capacity of legal and normative frameworks (February 2011)
- Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Human Displacement: A UNHCR Perspective (August 2009)
- Refugees and the Environment (January 2001)