By Asmau Ahmad
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has urged world leaders to invest heavily in environmental migration, lamenting that disasters are increasing in frequency and impacting human mobility.
While bemoaning the accelerating deterioration of the environment, he noted that the climate is changing at unprecedented speed.
IOM is part of the United Nations System as the leading inter-governmental organization since 1951, promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all, with 175 member states and a presence in over 100 countries.
In a video to mark the 2023 World Environment Day, the IOM’s Director General, Antonio Vitorino, said environmental migration is a new reality, adding that investment in protecting the environment will help reduce risks of displacements and other related hazards for future generations.
He, however, called on all governments and parties to address the reality of the climate crisis by providing concrete solutions, “For people who are already on the move, for people who will want or must move, and for these who want to stay due to the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation.”
“The deterioration of the environment is indeed accelerating. The climate is changing at unprecedented speed. Disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity, impacting human mobility in many ways every day. We have witnessed extreme floods, severe droughts, cyclones, wildfires, and storms in every region of the world.
“In the past decade, people have been internally displaced due to disasters and 2022 was no exception.
“Last year alone, a record number of 32.6 million new internal disaster displacements were registered. Environmental migration is our reality. We must invest in protecting the environment today to reduce the risks of displacements due to climate and environmental-related hazards for future generations. And ensure that, when necessary, their movements are safe.”
Commenting on the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, “Beat Plastic Pollution,’ the IOM DG advised countries around the world to work together in accelerating climate actions to reduce environmental pollution.
He said, “We all need to work together to accelerate climate action, reduce environmental pollution, and guarantee that our future generations enjoy their right to a clean and healthy environment.
“On world environment day, I joined the voices of the UN leaders calling to respect and protect the environment and beat plastic pollution. We need to take action now for people and nature.”