Impact of COVID-19 on nexus between climate change and labour migration in selected South Asian countries: An exploratory study

Climate change has been identified as the single greatest risk for achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals. In South Asia, the world of work can be affected by various aspects of climate change including extreme heat, flooding or drought, or that can cause a rise in water-borne diseases, dengue or malaria, or bring pests that damage crops, among other disasters. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the risks to the world of work have been magnified in both rural and urban areas, particularly in the informal economy.

The study seek understand the impact of COVID-19 on the nexus between climate change, the labour market and migration in selected South Asian countries, particularly India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and Sri Lanka to better understand how internal and international migrant workers who moved in the context of climate change have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19,.

The research project was initiated by ILOʹs labour migration branch (MIGRANT), in collaboration with the ILO’s RESEARCH department and conducted by Professor Tasneem Siddiqui of the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU).

The research draws on the diverse challenges experienced by internal and international climate-induced migrant workers from these selected South Asian countries also collates the good examples and innovative measures undertaken by the governments and civil society organizations in protecting the migrant workers during the pandemic. The research also offers some policy recommendations while factoring in the intersectional realities of migrant workers.