Throughout the last decade, the increasingly severe consequences of climate change have brought a number of challenges for the Mesoamerican and the Caribbean region. This has led to increased pressure on human displacement. We still do not fully understand the consequences, it is however crucial for the region’s future development to understand this development.
According to data published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) , there has been a significant increase in global average temperature over the last years. This development has a direct impact on the environments in which we as humans develop ourselves and carry out economic activities.
The Germanwatch Global Climate Risk Index 2016, sees countries from Central America and the Caribbean as those most affected in the last decade.
The North Atlantic Hurricane region crosses the Caribbean Antilles and the Central American Isthmus. At the same time as El Niño (high temperature anomaly) and La Niña (low temperatures anomaly) have intensified, the flood-drought cycles have affected large crop-growing areas by reducing its potential for habitability.
This has been particularly severe in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, says the FAO Dry corridor - Situation report (June 2016). The levels of vulnerability in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama are also available in this report.
There are some islands off the coast of Panama that have been inhabited for over 150 years by the indigenous Guna Yala people that have disappeared due to rising sea levels. However, there are other islands in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, that are highly concerned about erosion and salinization of their land, states the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS).
The Global Report on Internal Displacement 2016 shows clearly how these types of events force the affected population to move to other places. Whether it is due to the climatic event itself or the impact it has on the economic resources for their livelihood. The exploratory study launched by Hunger without Borders, in collaboration with IOM, the Organization of American States (OAS), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the London School of Economics, is a first step in establishing the link between migration, hunger and violence in Central America. However, it remains a challenge to learn the details about the actual impact.
The Environmental Migration Portal was implemented by IOM within the project “Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy” (MECLEP), which is funded by the European Union. This virtual platform promotes scientific research, the exchange of information and constructive dialogue, in order to fill the current data gaps and the lack of knowledge or available studies about the migration-environment nexus.
More detailed research, as well as more coordination and closer cooperation between several stakeholders is required. to accurately define the true scale and nature of the efforts that must be carried out, in order to generate the required solutions to address the challenges of environmental migration.
Sobre el autor:
Francisco Masís Holdridge es Asistente Regional de Migración Laboral y Desarrollo Humano en la Oficina Regional para Centroamérica, Norteamérica y el Caribe de la OIM. Cuenta con una Maestría en Economía de la Universidad de Costa Rica y ha laborado como consultor para el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo y organizaciones del sector privado (EKA Consultores, entre otras). Asimismo, tiene experiencia en el desarrollo y gestión de proyectos de innovación.