Regional Dialogue on Climate Change and Migration Nexus in the Arab Region

The Issue Based Coalition on Migration in the Arab region (IBC/M), co-convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the League of Arab States (LAS), together with the members of the IBC/M, with support from the Regional United Nations Network on Migration in the Arab region organized a Regional Dialogue on the Climate Change and Migration Nexus in the Arab Region, aiming to take a collective deep dive on the impact of climate change on different migrant groups and Member States.

Press release | 02 November 2022
The dialogue brought together Member States’ representatives, the League of Arab States (LAS), UN agencies, experts, academia, private sector, trade unions, and other stakeholders, and aimed to discuss the impact of climate change on migration patterns and trends to and from the Arab Region.

The discussion looked at how those patterns impact different vulnerable groups on the move, including asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrant workers. All with a special attention to specific vulnerabilities of women migrants and children on the move.

Organizers and participants also highlighted promising practices across the region pertaining to governance of climate-induced migration and displacement. And in support of forward-looking progress and cooperation, the Dialogue fostered cross-regional collaboration on climate-induced migration and displacement.

The dialogue is timely given the unprecedented levels of human mobility witnessed in the region. In 2020, Arab countries hosted almost 15 per cent of migrants and refugees worldwide, with 12 Arab countries hosting 15 per cent of migrant workers globally. Moreover, nearly 9.3 million refugees have sought protection in the region. In terms of outward migration, 32.8 million people migrated or were forcibly displaced from Arab countries, 44 per cent of whom remained within the region.

In the same year, there were around 2 million newly internally displaced persons due to natural disasters, and around 17 million internally displaced persons due to conflict. This is according to UN sources starting with the Situation Report on International Migration 2021.

It also raises awareness of the climate change and migration nexus, ahead of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held in the region in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 7-18 November 2022, and COP 28, to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 6-17 November 2023.

Comments from contributing agencies:

“We are in dire need to shed light on climate change and migration nexus, anticipate its future scenarios, identify patterns of potential internal and external migration, adapt to climate-induced migration and reduce its negative impact on people's lives, by developing long-term plans and programs which support flexibility and resilience to adapt to these changes”, said Minister Plenipotentiary, Enas El Fergany, Director of Refugees, Expatriates and Migration Affairs Department, League of Arab States.

Dr. Mehrinaz El Awady, ESCWA stated that we are witnessing highest levels of human mobility on our region, as well as unprecedented trends in climate change. Climate change could be impacting the lives of millions of people in our region. Climate change, especially when coupled with other factors including economic and political instability, could be driving the migration of people within their countries from rural to urban areas, and outside their countries in the decades to come.

“IOM is committed to close collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies to enhance management of climate and environment induced migration and displacement, climate and human mobility, to address its challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities it presents”, said Kristina Mejo, Deptuy Regional Director for IOM MENA, “the need has become even more pressing to increase action for climate change adaptation measures, and resources to avert and minimize displacement, when and where it is still possible, and strengthen people’s resilience.”

“Climate change-induced labour mobility can represent an adaptation strategy to climate change, providing opportunities to increase resilience, avoid loss of assets and livelihoods, and increase the skills base in destination countries as well as in home communities when migrants return”, said Dr Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States.

Please find the full report here and, for additional information, please also read related article. 

For more information, please contact:

ESCWA - Mr. Milad Pournik via
IOM - Mr. Alaeddine Dridi via
ILO – Ms. Salwa Kanaana via