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UNHCR examines displacement issue at Climate Change meeting

Briefing notes

UNHCR examines displacement issue at Climate Change meeting

5 December 2008

Deputy High Commissioner L. Craig Johnstone is scheduled to discuss the humanitarian response to climate-induced displacement on Monday at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland. Mr. Johnstone is scheduled to chair a panel discussion organised by UNHCR, IOM and the United Nations University titled "Climate change, migration and forced displacement: The new humanitarian frontier?"

The aim is to raise awareness of the humanitarian dimensions of climate change.

In his introductory remarks, the Deputy High Commissioner is expected to reiterate UNHCR's position that the humanitarian impacts of climate change, including the ability to respond to massive human displacement, are receiving insufficient attention. The international community's capacity to deal with massive emergencies is limited, he says, and mechanisms must be put in place now if the humanitarian consequences of climate change are to be dealt with effectively.

Already many UNHCR beneficiaries are affected by extreme weather events. When maps marking the frequency of droughts, cyclones or floods are placed over maps of UNHCR activities, it shows that areas with a concentration of people of concern to UNHCR are also the areas most vulnerable to climate-induced disasters.