Assessment Report on Linkages Between Climate Change and Migration Launched in Sri Lanka
19 May 2023
Colombo – The Assessment Report and on the Linkages Between Climate Change and Migration was launched this week (16/05) by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Climate Change Secretariat in partnership with the International Organization for Migration, emphasizing on how the adverse impacts of climate change interact with other socio-economic drivers of mobility and migration.
Representatives from the Government of Sri Lanka, ambassadors, embassy staff from diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka, representatives from UN organizations, academic institutions and civil society organizations attended the launch of the assessment report followed by a policy dialogue and panel discussion on human mobility implications on climate change.
IOM, as the leading intergovernmental migration agency, has been at the forefront of operational, research, policy, advocacy efforts seeking to bring climate and environmental migration to the heart of international, regional, and national concerns in collaboration with its member states, observers, and partners.
Andrew Gray, Deputy Chief of Mission for IOM Sri Lanka and Maldives said, “IOM’s vision is to support the member states in their efforts to achieve orderly, safe, responsible, and regular international migration and to ensure that all people on the move and those internally displaced by the adverse impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters due to natural hazards, are assisted and protected.”
He further stated that, “IOM’s approach focuses on solutions to prevent forced migration that results from environmental factors to the extent possible, to provide assistance and protection to affected populations when forced migration does occur in situations of environmental and climate change, to seek durable solutions to their situation and to facilitate migration in the context of climate change adaptation and enhance the resilience of affected communities.”
The assessment report is the output of an in-depth study on linkages between climate change and migration in Sri Lanka conducted jointly by the MoE and the IOM. This study was conducted as part of the project titled Understanding Migration, Environmental Degradation, and Climate Change in Sri Lanka, supported by the IOM Development Fund.
The recommendations from the report are formulated to influence the overall policy level decision processes through identified implementable actions and programmes. They include actions to advocate for integrating human mobility dimensions, build resilience for affected communities through improved disaster risk reduction, to enhance the social welfare and social protection coordination mechanisms and to leverage innovative financial mechanisms for resilience.
The findings of the research speak to the need for a scientific approach to policy and programme design to address the complex human mobility dimensions of climate change.
Speraking at the launch Sarat Dash, IOM Chief of Mission for IOM Sri Lanka and Maldives, said, "IOM restates its commitment to continuing work with the Government and people of Sri Lanka in promoting safe, orderly, and humane migration in all contexts including as a response to climate change.”
Dr. Anil Jayasinghe, the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment said, “The development policies and programmes on climate change should understand, address, and acknowledge the complexities of different mobilities in the context of climate change. It requires a "whole-of-government, whole-of-society" approach.”
Speaking at the policy dialogue, Dr. Sunimal Jayathunga, the Additional Secretary (Environment Development) of the Ministry of Environment said, " As policy makers we want to address the climate change induced human mobilities in our policies, programmes, and action plans.” Dr Jayathunga added, “It is not that it was not addressed but so far there were no data to support the importance of different human mobilities around climate change. I believe this assessment report provides a good starting point to establish the necessary data and information."
The launch concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Christopher Richter, Regional Migration, Environment and Climate Change Specialist, IOM Regional Office for Asia, and the Pacific (ROAP), on human mobility implications of climate change. Dewi Gustina Tobing, High Commissioner Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of Republic of Indonesia, Dr Jayathunga, Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka & Maldives, Vositha Wijenayake, Executive Director, SLYCAN Trust’s and Yasangi Randeni, General Manager Aitken Spence contributed to the discussion as the panelists addressing strategic interventions to combat the adverse impacts of climate change in the context of human mobility.
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