Why is COP25 on climate change also a summit on human mobility?

Why is COP25 on climate change also a summit on human mobility?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) is the most important annual event on this issue, as it allows its parties to advance in the design and implementation of measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This will be the last Convention before the Paris Agreement in 2020 enters into force and should allow for the completion of its regulation and to review the progress of the parties' commitments. After the change of venue announced at the beginning of November, COP25 will take place in Madrid from December 2 to 13, 2019, under the presidency of the Chilean government.

However, the Convention is also a summit on human mobility for several reasons. First of all, it is important to remember that human mobility has progressively entered the scope of COP discussions, in particular from the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework, which calls for measures to address three forms of climate mobility: displacement induced by climate change, migration, and planned relocations. And secondly, because the approval of the Paris Agreement also represents a before and after in this process, as it recognizes the situation of climate migrants and establishes a Task Force to specifically address the issue of human mobility related to climate change.

The Task Force has contributed to integrating migration into climate change discussions, pointing out the importance of addressing the impact of environmental and climate degradation on population movements. Scientific evidence has accompanied this process: the reports of the intergovernmental panel of experts on climate change have progressively incorporated migration into their analyzes. A recent study published in Nature Communications triples the estimation of vulnerabilities against sea level rise. According to this report, a conservative estimate of 190 million people will live in areas submerged by high tides by 2100. This situation makes the planning of human mobility necessary from areas that are not going to be habitable in the future.

Each COP in recent years has integrated a greater number of events and discussions related to human mobility in its different components. The Task Force presented its recommendations during Katowice COP24 in 2018. These recommendations were officially approved and identify a set of opportunities to reduce, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change. The Task Force will present its activities during COP25, as well as a work plan for the coming years.

Integrating human mobility in the COP and more generally in discussions on climate change is essential to prevent forced migration and support people who will be forced to leave their communities due to phenomena such as sea level rise, desertification , the melting of glaciers, the acidification of the ocean, droughts and hydrometeorological threats. By bringing together all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the COPs represent the ideal platform to advance these discussions and achieve international consensus to address climate migration.

7 recommendations to promote the inclusion of migrants in host communities through social and cultural activities.

Categoria: Pacto Mundial sobre Migración
Autor: Carlos Escobar

The promotion of social and cultural activities as a mechanism to encourage interaction between migrants and host communities with the aim of advancing in the construction of more just and peaceful societies, is currently a topic of special interest in studies, policies and programs on migrant inclusion and social cohesion.

Taking Intergroup Contact Theory (IGCT) as a reference, different researches argue that the interaction of people from different places and contexts, under the right circumstances, favors trust and the change of xenophobic or discriminatory perceptions. Thus, intergovernmental agreements such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration have integrated this perspective into their theoretical and conceptual body. In particular, Goal 16 "Empower migrants and societies to achieve full inclusion and social cohesion", calls for the creation of community centres or programs at the local level to facilitate the participation of migrants in the receiving society by engaging migrants, community members, diaspora organizations, migrant associations and local authorities in intercultural dialogue, exchange of experiences, mentoring programs and the creation of business linkages that enhance integration outcomes and foster mutual respect.

Based on the analysis and review of different research, the IOM, in its publication The Power of Contact: Designing, Facilitating and Evaluating Social Mixing Activities to Strengthen Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Between Migrants and Local Communities – A Review of Lessons Learned, proposes a series of recommendations, based on empirical evidence, to encourage the participation of migrants and receiving communities in social and cultural activities.

1). Fun and goal-oriented

Designing and incorporating fun and exciting activities leads to a lighter and more welcoming environment for people to meet, interact and create social bonds. At the same time, setting common goals, which neither group can achieve without the participation of the other (cooperative interdependence), makes the activities more engaging and participatory.

2). Mutual appreciation

Participants should understand, recognize and appreciate culture, traditions and history as part of the process of bridging differences, maximizing each other's strengths and identifying commonalities. It is important that all individuals are able to identify how their contributions can have a positive impact on the achievement of common goals.

3). Shared ownership

Involving migrants and local communities in all phases of activities will increase their participation. This ownership empowers them, raises their self-esteem and opens up new opportunities for responsibility and commitment.

4). Guided Reflection

Dialogues and activities that allow for a certain degree of reflection help to create an atmosphere that is perceived as trusting, friendly and warm. Processing information and sharing personal and sensitive stories, which can evoke memories, are of utmost importance as long as they are carefully guided and accompanied by facilitators or project members.

5). Supervision and Trust Facilitation

Those responsible for group interactions, such as team leaders, facilitators, project staff or event planners, must play an active role in promoting equality within intergroup relations and creating an inclusive environment for all. This deliberate effort is crucial to overcome the natural tendency of participants to group themselves according to their most salient characteristics and status.

6). Sustained and regular intervention

It goes without saying that the more frequent, prolonged and intensive the participation, the better the attitude of each individual towards others. This means adopting an approach that rethinks the role of the people involved, who in turn will define the needs of their communities and ultimately take part in the design and organization of appropriate interventions.

7). Institutional support and partnership

The support of institutions such as local governments, media, government agencies and intermediary organizations is critical to promoting and facilitating constructive efforts to strengthen intergroup relations. The coordination of these institutions creates a system that can provide resources and incentives to promote and strengthen intergroup relations.

Social and cultural activities, understood as a programmatic intervention strategy to facilitate the inclusion of migrants in receiving communities, are important to the extent that they offer non-institutional spaces for interaction, where through spontaneous human contact, social ties are built based on experiences, stories, emotions and life trajectories of the participants. This facilitates the generation of trust between individuals, greater degrees of social cohesion and, of course, peaceful coexistence in communities, understood not only as the absence of conflict, but also as a positive, dynamic and participatory process in which dialogue is promoted and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, through the acceptance of differences, the ability to listen, recognize, respect and appreciate others. (UN, 2021).