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IOM Philippines Reports Migration as a Resilience Strategy to Climate Impacts for Filipinos

United Nations Information Centre Manila

MANILA — In celebration of World Environment Day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Philippines launched the report, Framing the Human Narrative of Migration in the Context of Climate Change, which reviews the existing evidence on migration in the Philippines in the context of the climate emergency.

While the Philippines is one of the smallest contributors to causes of climate change, it ranks as the second most affected by climate risks impacts globally, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2020. Aside from experiencing an average 20 typhoons a year, the country now faces more frequent and extreme weather changes, rising temperature, heavier rainfall and sea level rise.

The report finds that farmers and fisherfolk, women, elderly and urban poor are the most vulnerable to climate impacts. In particular, women are more affected than men, constituting 80 per cent of people displaced by climate emergency in the country. In response to the increasing climate risks, the report finds that Filipinos rely on voluntary adaptative strategies such as permanent and circular migration as well as involuntary adaptive strategies such as distress migration and systematic relocation.

“It is crucial to have a clearer understanding of the nexus between climate change and migration, and to explore both the opportunities and challenges presented by migration as an adaptation strategy,” said Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission.

“The findings of the report will support key stakeholders in continuing to develop policies and programs based on the experience of Filipino people who are clearly confronted by the impact of the climate emergency,” continued Dadey, emphasizing that such evidence-based programming will ultimately enhance efforts to respond to the immediate needs, while ensuring that migration is utilized as a tool towards sustainable adaptation and risk mitigation.

The report analyzed a total of 35 published papers, with the majority coming from 2011-2020 when some of the most destructive climate-related disasters occurred in the Philippines. Exploratory interviews and consultations were also conducted with local governments and vulnerable community members, to provide an initial framework for in-depth policy research on climate migration.

“The report gathers insights from different sectors on the issue of climate change and highlights the human narratives behind the impacts of climate change in the Philippines,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, the UN’s Resident Coordinator and Chair of the UN Network on Migration in the Philippines, highlighting the significance of the report.

“We need to prepare for the massive uprooting that this climate emergency threatens to trigger. The report recovers for us the human face of the most crucial social and ecological challenge of our time,” said Fr. Jose Ramon “Fr. Jett” Villarin, SJ, a climate scientist and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Jerome Ilagan, the Chief of the Policy Research and Development Division of the Philippine government’s Climate Change Commission, expressed his support to IOM for its efforts and cited that the report will be useful especially in informing strategic ways forward to mainstream climate change adaptation and climate resilience initiatives nationwide, especially to the vulnerable communities.

“Through the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, our government, as part of the National Adaptation Plan process, consistent with the National Climate Risk Management Framework, is committed to ensure that all Filipinos are equipped with the evidence-based and citizen-centric knowledge and capacities to adapt and thrive in this era of climate change,” he said.

As the Coordinator and Secretariat of the UN Network on Migration, IOM has conducted various studies on the impact of climate change on migration. The report seeks to further complement this initiative in the Philippines context by informing future programs with the most recent and relevant information. The report is part of the Climate Change Adaptation and Community Resilience in the Philippines Program, with support and funding from the IOM Development Fund (IDF).

For more information, please contact: Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission) at [email protected]


IOM Philippines will hold a virtual launch event of the report on 4 June 2021(FRI) 9:00 – 10:30.

To attend, please register here: https://tripetto.app/run/IH841CZ4P0

The full report ‘Framing the Human Narrative of Migration in the Context of Climate Change’ will be available at IOM Philippines’ website on 4 June 2021.

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