Population and Environment

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 384–401 | Cite as

Coordinated approaches to large-scale movements of people: contributions of the Paris Agreement and the Global Compacts for migration and on refugees

  • Koko Warner
Original Paper


It is not yet clear how climate change will affect the structural constraints and spatial and social complexity that affect population movements in the future. Today, countries of origin, transit, and destination have reached a juncture. The UNFCCC Paris Agreement adds value to decisions these countries face by helping them explore possible scenarios for impacts that include large movements of people that could be associated with a rise in global average temperatures between 1.5 and 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Climate policy and mainstream migration and refugee policy are developing recommendations by the end of 2018 that, together, will provide new contours for governing human mobility in the twenty-first century. This paper compares work on human mobility under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and how climate change features in the initial drafts of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The international community can choose not to include such future considerations, missing opportunities to avert risks of involuntary movements of people as climate change impacts intensify. Alternatively, the international community can help countries to preempt risks arising from governance gaps and climate impacts, incorporate climate and mobility considerations in planning, and establish contingency arrangements for large-scale movements of people. A measure of efficacy in coordinating responses to large-scale movements of people will be the degree to which both state and non-state actors take up the recommendations of the Task Force on Displacement, how the Global Compact for Migration is negotiated, and the degree to which states utilize the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework as climate and other dynamics unfold in future years.


UNFCCC Paris Agreement Global Compact for Migration Global Compact on Refugees Displacement Disaster Climate adaptation Loss and damage Governance 



The author would like to expressly thank Miwa Kato and Petya Pimisheva of the UNFCCC loss and damage team for their thoughts. All views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect any views of the UNFCCC or Parties in the climate policy arena.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Climate Change SecretariatUNFCCCBonnGermany

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