By Jill Helke
World Environment Day is a time to reflect collectively on global issues related to the environment. This year's World Environment Day, "Think.Eat.Save." inevitably leads us to the paradox between food waste and unsustainable consumption practices in some parts of the world on the one hand. On the other hand, food insecurity and threats to livelihoods in many other regions arise from the negative impacts of climate change and long term environmental degradation.
Diminished food security due to climate change has become a major factor in migration. In some instances, drought has led to crop failure and migration to cities. In others, rainfall with increased intensity has destroyed agricultural production, displacing people in need of food. Continued shifting climate patterns have also changed the temporal migration patterns of pastoralist people, leading to conflict for sparse resources and forcing people to abandon the pastoralist livelihood. Migration as a result of food insecurity is mostly internal, often rural-urban, but in some cases trapped populations are unable to afford expensive migration and remain in their homeland without sufficient food security.
Across the globe, environmental factors increasingly lead to migration: a recent survey conducted by IOM among its missions worldwide has demonstrated that at least a third of offices are directly concerned by environmental migration, both temporary and permanent, mostly as a result of floods, droughts and changing rainfall patterns.
This issue of Environmental Migration Newsletter highlights the interconnections between the environment, human mobility, adaptation and development, and presents an update on IOM's efforts and progress in the complex area of environmental migration, building on over twenty years of institutional work to address the complex challenges of migration in the context of climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters.
It is our hope that you find this new issue insightful and inspiring, and the Newsletter worth supporting and contributing to.
And remember - we count on you to stay green and read it on your screen!
Jill Helke is IOM's Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships