Final text group 6- Migration and Climate Change

Context: Causes and consequences of climate migration

Climate migrations occur in the context of the development model that emerged from the capitalist system. On one hand, this model enables states and transnational corporations to overexploit natural resources, degrade the natural environment and forcing the migration of individuals and families.

Examples of this are the megaprojects that use up the basic elements of the soil, local flora and faun (such as mining and hydroelectric dams), and that are realized with the complicity of the governments. The produce of climate change, then, is that particular points of the planet are being converted into expulsing places, causing the displacement of populations for reasons of scarcity that gets worse with each iteration, of the overexploitation of water and air, that we see in the increases in frecuency and intensity of floods and storms, or, in contrast, desertification and drought.

On the other hand, the capitalist model of development is seen to benefit from the overexploitation of the labor of migrants. It is also true that this situation of overexploitation is shared by economic migrants, those whom we consider “climate migrants” are a product of the degradation of the planet that obligates their search for other places to live. As some of the principal environmental causes that determine migration, we have: climate change (desertification, deforestation, degradation of the earth, pollution of water and floods, hurricanes), natural phenomena not attributable to climate change (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes) and for disasters generated by man (industrial accidents, radioactivity, among others).

Both situations implicate violations of human rights of migrants and the deepening of inequality and poverty, especially in the countries of the global South, whose inhabitants are seen to be forced to displace themselves with
dramatic impacts on the environment also in the receiving countries, thus completing a perverse circle of vulnerability of rights.

First, the right of individuals and peoples to not migrate and to stay on their lands is being violated, and the degradation of their territories is generating a depopulation particularly in rural communities, in which occasionally some elders are left. Second, in the cities, those who emigrated occupy low wage jobs and in conditions of exploitation violating their rights to dignified work, aggravating levels of poverty and thus impeding access to other basic rights
such as housing, health and education. On occasion this is seen to support drug trafficking and trading networks of people that are turned into commodities. Third, the militarization of the borders and the criminalization of migrants institutionalizes abuse and generates high levels of discrimination, which finally constitutes another obstacle to the access to all of their rights. Fourth and last, the capitalist development model is forcing people to emigrate from their places due to climate causes violates the basic right to free movement.

At the global level, climate change-induced forced migration increases the pressures on basic services, [entorpece] economic growth and augments the risks of conflict. Thus, climate migration contributes to the [desbordamiento]
of the cities where tens of thousands live and will live in marginalized neighborhoods, in deficient housing and with scarce serves of potable water and limited access to economic, social and cultural rights. Other resulting consequences of forced migration by climate change are the disorganization of systems of production (affecting small farmers, indigenous people, artisanal fishers, among others) and the debilitation of internal markets. In addition the loss of “human capital” in the form of labor strength and investment in education, contributes to a greater limitation of economic opportunities, which in turn will generate future migration. Also, displacement signifies for many, losing their ancestral orientation points with their lands and are forced to adopt a completely different form of life.

The displacement of populations at the large scale could redesign the ethnic map of many countries, cutting the distance between groups who used to live separately, obligating them to compete for the same resources. We should mention that this situation is even worse for specific groups within migrant populations, such as the case of women, especially indigenous women, and children and adolescents.

In synthesis, environmental degradation and climate change have reached critical levels, being one of the principal consequences internal and international migration. Although the data are approximate, some projections in 1995 estimated that about 2.5 million climate migrants, and now the estimates are about 5 million, and the projections for 2050 are between 20 and 100 million people who will be displaced by situations driven by climate change. This will provoke an ever greater scarcity of regular levels of food and water, anas well as the increase in frequency and gravity of floods and storms, all of which feeds the perverse cycle that climate migrants are found unprotected until we begin to act.

Given these considerations, the definitions that we would like to reflect these realities are the following:

· Climate refugees. Those peope who are obligated to flee climate change. Although this does not exist in international law and particularly in the Geneva Convention. It is necessary to insert this category so that states that have caused the problem assume their responsibilities. This consideration goes in the same line as the Special Relator to the Right of Food Jean Ziegler, en her 2007 report, that signaled that there is little difference between a person facing death for poisoning and the other for an arbitrary execution for their political convictions. He proposes the creation of a new juridical instrument to these people, recognizing them as “hunger refugees” and offer them the rights not of temporary protection, so that they don’t’ have to return to a country where hunger and the hungry threaten their lives.

· Forced migrants. Those people that are obligated to migrate not only for reasons of climate change but also for econmic reasons. The term climate migrant reduces the problem of workers that have forcibly left either countries for labor motivations and could distract from the structural reasons of migration as a global phenomenon. The term “forced migrants” is the contrasted to free movement.

· The Climate displaced. Those ppeople who are forced to displace themselves for reasons of climate change, inside and outside of the country. The necessity exists to create a judicial status to protect those people that are found in this situation fiven that international law to date only recognizes the figures of migration and refuge withough incorporating those people subject to displacement.


1. Ask that international conventions, including those subscribed in the UN framework – through the mechanism of complementary protocols or alternative reforms – such as those who subscribe to other spaces, such as the ALBA, UNASUR or the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, contemplate the definition of climate migrants as
people and communities, so that all the States of the world take into account the rights of these people in their definitions and considerations.

2. Design global and local politics on climate change and the full participation of people and terreitories involved in the defense of their communities and the rights of Mother Earth.

3. Demand political, economic, social models, that respect our rights to free movement, to not migrate and not be displaced forcibly, recuperate the cosmovision and ancestral technology in order to constuct models of develop from the peoples indicated in the cition of BUEN VIVIR, that implies the respect and harmony with mother Earth. Models that must [contraponerse] in the doings of the practices of “development” and extractives, in other aspects, of the world capitalist system, that determines poverty, inequality, misery, the deterioration of Mother Earth and migrations.

4. Promote a treat on the righumnan rights of climate migrants, applicable and recognized at the global level, that has a [vinculante] character and thus able to be demanded. That climate migrants have the same rights and obligations of the citizens of the country of destiny.

5. To create a space or international organization of the people that foments the permanent investigation on the political, social cultural and economic situation of climate migrants.

6. To demand the creation of a economic fund primarily financed but the central capitalist countries and the large transnational corporations that are the principal causers of climate change, destined to the care of internal and external climate migrants. That this Fund is administered b the Climate Justice Tribunal, or other space constituted
by affected peoples and communities. That the principles of differentiated responsibility is respected equally by all countries, depending on the dimension or gravity of harm.

7. As international policy, it is necessary to formulate the transfer of technology from the central capitalist countries as the payment of historical climate debt and that it is compatible with the rights of Mother Earth and that supports the sovereignty of food, energy and other economic alternatives that have as an axis the right of communities and their harmonious relationship with Mother Earth.

8. Create a People’s Commission for the monitoring of the agreements on climate migrants that are adopted by this World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.

9. Support the formation of an International Tribunal of Conscience in order to denounce, make visible, document, judge and castigate the violations of the rights of Migrants, refugees and displaced in their countries of origin, transit and destiny.

10. Respect the right of prior, free and informed consent of communities, that as a consequence of natural disasters are seeing the necessity to displace themselves or to migrate. The right of communities and peoples to not migrate or not be forcibly displaced from their lands for practices of eviction exercised by States, transnational corporations and other armed actors.

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