In these two years that the world has been grappling with the covid pandemic, climate disasters have continued taking their toll in human lives. In 2020 alone, 30.7 million people were displaced by disasters, of which more than 98% were weather-related, such as floods, storms and wildfires. Some regions continued having record-breaking temperatures leading to water scarcity, drought, and loss of farmlands. Environmental degradation from climate change is fuelling more conflicts and violence, causing people to flee for their safety. The climate crisis, combined and interlinked with conflicts and the covid pandemic, is a major driver of forced migration today.
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary says:
“Understanding climate migration and its complex interlinkages with social, political and economic factors, including in the context of the covid pandemic and other health crises, is crucial in building an approach that is people-centered, gender-responsive and rooted on sustainable development. At the core of PSI’s response to these challenges are our key demands: climate justice, human rights, and quality public services, NOW!”
As the world continues to battle the covid pandemic, the climate crisis also continues to deepen, with its most profound impacts witnessed in disasters caused by extreme weather occurrences such as, forest fires, floods and typhoons or by slow-onset events such as, droughts and desertification.
Public Services and the Triple Cs: Covid, Conflicts and the Climate Crisis
On International Migrants Day, PSI calls on its affiliates, partners and allies to mobilise on these fronts:
We remain tireless in our fight for climate justice.
Demand equity and justice in addressing the climate crisis.
Hold rich countries who have contributed the most greenhouse gas emissions accountable for causing the problem of climate change for which the poor in developing countries are paying heavily, sometimes with their lives.
Fight to ensure a just and equitable transition for workers affected by loss and damage from climate change, the move to low-carbon energy production and other climate change response measures.
We need to place human rights above all else.
We need to recognize the complexity of climate-induced migration as it relates to social, political and economic factors, in order to ensure a gender-responsive, child-sensitive and people-centered approach.
Fundamental respect for human rights and humanitarian law; whether the person referred to is a migrant, a refugee or an internally displaced person (IDP) and whose movement or displacement was impacted by or a result of climate change, she or he is entitled to the full protection of her/his human and labour rights.
Ratify and implement UN and ILO instruments on migrant workers, i.e. UN Migrant Workers Convention, UN Core Conventions, ILO Conventions 97 and 143 (Migrant Workers) and all other international labour standards.
Call on all states to uphold the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, including a fair- sharing of responsibility in receiving and hosting refugees.
Remind states hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs) to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Provide more legal pathways to migration while preserving the integrity of the asylum system.
We must defend quality and inclusive public services.
Equal and universal access to quality public services. The provision of public goods and services essential to our lives must not be left to the whims of the market. We must continue to fight privatization and put people over profit.
Invest in health care, social care, disaster management and response, clean water, sanitation, public infrastructure and all range of public services as the best strategy for societies, displaced communities and host communities to adapt to the 3C’s (conflicts, covid and climate), build resilience, and pursue equitable and sustainable development.
For developing countries most impacted by the climate crisis, integrate loss and damage support and adaptation assistance into their public services, with the overall goal of preventing displacement and humanitarian crises and eradicating poverty, rather than reacting to them.
Ensure safety, decent work, fair remuneration and social protection for our public service workers who are at the frontlines of dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis, conflicts and covid.
Protect and defend the human and trade union rights of all workers, including migrant and refugee workers.