European Adaptation Agenda

By Dina Ionesco

The European Union Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change released in April 2013 by the European Commission (EC) emphasizes the interlinkages between climate change, environmental degradation, and migration through a special Commission Staff Working Document devoted to the topic. 

It looks at a wide spectrum of activities including humanitarian aid, disaster risk reduction, relocation, migration management and protection. Two key messages emerge from the human mobility perspective: first, the recognition that migration is one possible adaptation strategy and a coping mechanism for individuals and communities. Second, the call for a better integration of migration with environment as a recognized trigger, into development strategies, by using relevant migration and development knowledge, tools and programmes. The presence of migration in a Communication focused on adaptation, matches the efforts integrate adaptation in the migration and mobility related EC legislation. 

Environmental migration is cross cutting many policy areas, hence the collaboration among EC Directorates with different perspectives and insights in the topic, including DG Home Affairs (HOME) DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid (DEVCO), DG Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), DG Climate Action (CLIMA) and the European External Action Service (EEAS). For external audiences, this collaboration provides a welcomed consensus on the importance of the topic, as well as an encouragement in terms of implementation perspectives for this Communication.

The Commission Working paper is the result of a process of two years of consultations and research while building on the experienced gained at EU level from the implementation of the migration and development pillar of the Global Approach to Migration and since 2011, the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility. IOM has been involved in the Consultation process from the beginning and welcomes the communication as part of the common objective to promote migration as an essential component of development and adaptation agendas.