Jordan’s need to address climate migration

Amman Citadel (Photo Daniel Qura Unsplash)
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — As climate change is reshaping lives and the ground beneath our feet, the world is heralding the age of climate migration. The World Bank’s updated Groundswell report stated that climate change could force 216 million people across six world regions to move within their countries by 2050. In the face of accelerating climate challenges, there is no doubt that collaboration and proactive measures are vital. There is a pressing need for cohesive action to foster resilience and safeguard the vulnerable. اضافة اعلان

What causes climate migration
President of the Jordan Environment Union (JEU), Omar Shoshan, said climate migration is mainly due to natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes…etc. in addition to extreme drought and desertification, as well as rising sea levels.

Shoshan also noted that the countries that are most at risk for producing large numbers of climate refugees are economically weak countries, less developed countries, and countries with political and security conflicts.

"Some countries will witness seasonal climate migration, meaning residents of a particular country with extreme weather conditions (extremely high temperatures, for example) will move to live in a country with a better climate for a specific period of the year, as people from the Gulf go live in other countries during summer due to the harsh weather in their own countries,” Shoshan explained.

Worsening problem
The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, does acknowledge the importance of addressing the impacts of climate change on displacement and the need for actions to support and protect vulnerable populations, including those who may be displaced due to climate-induced factors, said Raya Taher, climate justice project manager at Oxfam Jordan.

“There is no universally agreed-upon legal definition for climate refugees under international law, and protection offered to individuals who are displaced by climate change vary from one country to another,” Taher explained. According to IOM’s Glossary on Migration, climate migration is a subcategory of environmental migration; in which the change in the environment is due to climate change.

Climate-induced disasters will most likely increase the number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) inside countries. Challenges exacerbated by climate change, lead to inequality in accessing recourses (technical, institutional, and financial), which is especially faced by vulnerable groups i.e. people in the informal sector, women, young people, persons with disabilities, refugees… etc., Taher added.

Common causes
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) the countries with the highest number of internally displaced people from disasters in 2022 are Pakistan, the Philippines, China, India, and Nigeria. Of those, 98 percent are caused by weather-related disasters.

“Desertification, drought, and decreasing precipitation levels will affect specific communities, especially those directly relying on natural resources for their livelihood. In Jordan, many of these communities can become more at risk for loss of livelihood as natural resources around them are affected by climate change, which potentially causes internal displacement and migration to nearby countries,” Taher said.

Jordan’s desertification
Secretary-General of the Ministry of Environment Mohammad Khashashneh stated that the conditions and natural resources available in Jordan, such as semi-arid lands, in addition to water scarcity, may cause an increase in the movement of citizens from governorates to city centers, as a result of the deterioration of sources of livelihood such as agriculture, which will increase overcrowding and pressure on cities, therefore increasing the carbon footprint of those cities as well.

“Desertification leads to the loss of agricultural land and more deterioration in water resources, thus forcing people dependent on agriculture and grazing in these areas to leave their homes and move to other places for better and more sustainable life conditions. In addition to the harsh weather conditions, which include severe storms, floods, and severe drought, which destroys infrastructure and agricultural crops,” Khashashneh explained.

Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative
During COP27 in 2022, His Majesty King Abdullah stated, “The UN has recognized that global refugees and their hosts are among the most vulnerable to climate change. To address this crisis, Jordan has put forward a Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative. It will prioritize support for host countries that bear the brunt of climate change.”

“Efforts to mobilize support from different countries for this initiative have been ongoing since COP27 and it will be promoted during the upcoming COP28 to continue to mobilize support and publicize its objectives,” Khashashneh said.

According to Kashashneh, under the initiative, participating countries will commit to collaboratively work on mobilizing technical and financial support for the most affected host countries to enhance adaptation and resilience. They also pledge to undertake comprehensive local measures to mobilize national resources to achieve this goal and to engage stakeholders wherever possible to contribute to projects that address climate and development objectives in the context of ongoing conflict and forced displacement.

According to Shoshan, “The initiative requires consistent monitoring, and there must be a political and diplomatic framework and efforts for the initiative from the Jordanian government, other governments, and the International Community as well," he said.

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