Some 21.5 million people per year on average over the past decade have had to flee their homes due to climate related reasons. By 2050, over 200 million people will be forced to leave their homes because of climate change. Mayors are optimally placed to address local challenges associated with climate displacement, undertake concrete steps to prepare for and adapt to the impact of climate change and work in tandem with their national and regional counterparts.
The GPM supports city leaders as they address this global challenge and has joined forces with the British Council to put a spotlight on city leaders and the importance of local action through the project “Uniting Mayors for Local Solutions to Global Climate Challenges”. Under the leadership of GPM Champion Climate Mayors Lowe (Banjul, the Gambia), Orlando (Palermo, Italy) and Rio (Braga, Portugal) more than 75 mayors from around the world, representatives of city networks such as the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) and OECD, and international organizations like the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UN Habitat contributed to the dialogue on Climate Related Migration through panels, interviews and Roundtables.
At the request of the GPM and British Council, professors Kamal Amakrane (Columbia University) and Sheila Foster (Georgetown University) investigated the level of awareness among mayors about how climate-forced displacement and migration is affecting their communities, as well as the extent to which they are preparing, with or without support from other levels of government, to protect displaced communities and help receiving ones. The research group has shared the research findings in the report “Local Responses to Climate-Forced Displacement & Migration“. The research was also designed to identify the desired, and required, city leadership and to propose a toolkit with options for leaders to address the issue of climate-forced displacement. The research provided the framework for the Call to Action on Climate Migration.