Labour migration

COP27: ILO events on labour migration and climate change

Climate change has devastating impacts on people, their communities, and their jobs and livelihoods. Yet, migration can become a meaningful climate resilience and adaptation strategy for sending and receiving communities.

Ensuring this positive outcome requires that migration is based on choice, planned through a consultative, rights-based and equitable process that adheres to international standards, including international labour standards that ensure decent work for migrant workers.

Below are the key events co-organised at the COP 27 Conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh by the ILO Labour Migration Branch in collaboration with the UN Network on Migration, IOM, the Task Force on Disaster Displacement and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

These events brought together policymakers from governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, academics, civil society representatives and others to raise awareness on the effects of climate change on human mobility, build bridges and synergies between migration-focused practitioners, and climate change-focused practitioners and reflect on the inclusion of labour migration topic into climate and just transition planning processes.

Partnerships to address the challenges and opportunities of human mobility in the context of changing climate and disasters

Organised by the ILO and the IOM - 11 November

Focusing on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region, this COP27 side event consisted of two panel discussions on different approaches that addressed the challenges and opportunities of human mobility in the context of climate change and disasters. It brought together the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Platform on Disaster Displacement, Climate Mobility Africa Research Network, and representatives from the Republics of South Sudan and Uganda.

The first panel underlined the need to close existing knowledge gaps in order to design evidence-based policies and projects, especially those that strengthen predictive capacities/early warning mechanisms and create standard operating procedures for cross-border disaster displacement. In doing so, various actors should be mobilised for research and data collection, and the affected communities (i.e., refugees and internally displaced people) must be closely involved in a co-creation process.

The second panel featured experiences and reflections of UN agencies leading a joint programme on migration, disasters, and climate change in the IGAD region under the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund. They stressed on the value added by partnerships when it comes to strengthening operational capacities in national and local levels, ensuring policy coherence, and safeguarding refugee and human rights with a particular attention on disproportionate vulnerabilities of women and other minority groups. Creating regular pathways for mobility was also an important point raised as it prevents protection risks and decent work deficits, making labour migration a beneficial adaptation strategy.

Climate mobility and labour migration in a just transition

Organised by the ILO Labour Migration Branch - 12 November

Marking the launch of ILO’s new policy brief, this panel discussion delved into concrete actions and policies ensuring a just transition in the face of human mobility and labour migration related to climate change. This COP27 side event voiced out perspectives from the governments of Bangladesh and the United States of America, the International Organisation of Employers, and Building and Woodworkers International.

Exchanges tackled various dimensions of the linkages between climate and migration, including: anticipating climate-induced mobility and migration through policy coherence and the creation of regular pathways; the importance of international solidarity and leveraging foreign assistance; investing in decent green jobs and skills upgrading towards a just transition; using climate-positive projects to facilitate labour market integration through decent work of migrant workers and the formalisation of informal work; and the urgency of protecting climate-induced migrants under international labour standards to stop vicious cycles of vulnerability and exploitation.

Participants acknowledged that crafting inclusive partnerships and agreements involving governments, social partners, and migrants and displaced populations themselves are essential to come up with multiple-win solutions. Further, they highlighted the necessity of human-centred responses based on social dialogue that put social justice, and human rights and dignity at the centre of climate adaptation. To view the live event click here.

Strengthening action on climate change and human mobility: building synergies, coordinating actions

Organised by the UN Network on Migration - 12 November

This COP27 side event tackled coordinated responses to climate change and human mobility in light of the outcomes of the International Migration Review Forum, the first global review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Moderated by the ILO, it convened various stakeholders including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), International Organization for Migration, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Kenya Forestry Research Institute, and the Pacific Youth Council.

While the climate-mobility nexus has been increasingly at the forefront of policy discussions and agendas, a lot of work is left to be done in terms of translating these into action and implementing interventions on the ground. There is a need for both capacity development of governments, international organisations, and civil society actors in addressing climate-induced mobility; as well as more climate finance mechanisms focusing on displacement and adaptation.

The discussions also highlighted the need for negotiations and collaboration among actors.  The example of the Pacific Framework on Climate Mobility shows how extensive and inclusive consultations could lead to a regional comprehensive strategy reflecting collective interests and a common vision. The strategic position of negotiators and networks that synergise work on climate mobility should also be strengthened, such as shown by the role of the UNFCCC Taskforce on Displacement. To view the live event click here.