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. The research group have shared their research findings in the High Level Meeting. This report covers the lively debate of more than twenty mayors and city leaders regarding the urgent issue of climate-forced displacement. Representing 19 countries from around the world, they debated how to move forward both in their own communities, to protect their citizens from the threats of climate change, and together as a governance body to build up a coalition of mayors and communities to have a global impact. Kamal Amakrane, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs from Columbia University, and Sheila Foster, Professor of Law and Public Policy from 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 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 output of this global dialogue is captured in a multi-level Call to Action on Climate Change, Cities and Forced Migration: Advancing Knowledge, Action and Collaboration. The goal of this Call to Action is to unite mayors on this urgent issue, and make their voices heard in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) hosted in Glasgow (UK) from 31 October – 12 November 2021. Mayors and their cities, city networks and international organisations that support the Call to Action, will be included in the final document. The Call to Action will be presented in the lead up to COP26 and part of the GPM Annual Summit in Palermo (21-23 October).
Mayors from around the world, representatives of city networks, NGO and international organisations are invited to support the Call to Action on “Climate Change, Cities and Forced Migration: advancing knowledge, action and collaboration”.