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Number of climate refugees on the rise

GENEVA (SE): With the extreme weather that has been pounding countries across a wide arc in the Asia-Pacific region, questions have been raised over entitlements for the millions of people displaced by climate change, which has been pledged under the Green Climate Fund at the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

It is estimated by the Agency for Environmental Science for Social Change that 42 million people were displaced by storms, floods and droughts in the Asia-Pacific region during 2010 and 2011.

The International Organisation of Migration has set its sights on the annual United Nations climate change summit to be held in Qatar later this year.

At its meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010, government leaders from over 190 countries affirmed that climate change migrants qualify for assistance.

A paragraph of the Cancun Adaptation Framework says that victims of  climate change, who have been displaced from their homes are eligible for assistance from the billions of dollars pledged to a fund.

“The International Organisation on Migration will push to implement this paragraph at the next meeting in Qatar,” Diana Ionesco said on April 17.

“Migration can now be part of the global adaptation strategy, which was not the case before Cancun,” the migration policy officer said.

She added, “We want people who have been victims of climate change—including those who cannot move—to benefit from this new policy that has recognised migration as part of the climate change adaptation framework. It opens the way to apply for adaptation-related funding to help migrants.”

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