UNU-EHS: Report "Climate change, vulnerability and human mobility"

A new report based on scores of personal testimonies from refugees in Eastern Africa finds that climate change can make people more vulnerable and can also play a part in driving them into areas of conflict and ultimately across borders and into exile.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres introduced the report, “Climate Change, Vulnerability and Human Mobility,” while attending the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development. It was published by UNHCR and the United Nations University with support of the London School of Economics and Bonn University.

“This report confirms what we have been hearing for years from refugees. They did everything they could to stay at home, but when their last crops failed, their livestock died, they had no option but to move; movement which often led them into greater harm’s way,” said Guterres.

The study, based on discussions with around 150 refugees and internally displaced people in Ethiopia and Uganda in 2011, asked questions aimed at understanding to what extent climate change had contributed to their flight from their homes, and eventually their countries. Most of those interviewed were farmers and pastoralists from Eritrea, Somalia and eastern Sudan. Read on