This project aims to foster the debate on concrete pathways to protect people being affected by environmental migration and climate displacement, and to underline the urgency for more decisive climate action also on the EU level.


Project Background

Increasing awareness for climate change in our societies also brings to the forefront the very real effects it already has today. Around the world, millions of people are being displaced and deprived of their livelihoods due to sudden or slow-onset consequences of global warming.

The last  few years have seen an unprecedented number of displaced persons and refugees around the world following armed conflicts, but the increased number of people seeking asylum in EU member states has revealed the flaws of the EU’s asylum and migration policies and the rise of anti-migration rhetoric is threatening European values.

At the same time, even bigger challenges lie ahead as the UNHCR estimates that one person every second has been displaced by a disaster, with an average of 22.5 million people displaced by climate- or weather-related events since 2008. And although leading NGOs have warned that natural disasters are already the main cause for internal or international displacement, the international community has yet to formulate a clear response to the challenge and guarantee the protection of those affected.

Project Objectives and Activities

The GEF project on environmental migration and climate refugees aims to open up the space for debate on how we can ensure that those  affected by environmental migration and climate displacement receive legal recognition and have their dignity protected whether they remain within their home countries or cross international borders.

Together with experts from NGOs, the policy level and academia, GEF will explore the implications of this phenomenon on the European Union and bring new ideas and perspectives to the debate. In January 2020, the foundation will organise a Green Salon, as a forum for debate within the Green movement. To stimulate the broader debate, GEF has published a working paper on the topic, which can be read here. 

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