Migration wave due to climate change

In a 2018 Groundswell report, the World Bank predicted that about 143 million people would migrate within their countries by 2050 due to climate change.

Representative image
Representative image

Three years later, in the World Bank’s updated Groundswell report, released on September 13, it increased this number significantly to 216 million people, or 3% of the population of the surveyed areas. In which, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest number of migrants, with 86 million internal climate migrants; East Asia and the Pacific, 49 million; South Asia, 40 million; North Africa, 19 million; Latin America, 17 million; and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 5 million.

The above figure does not include climate-related migration data from the Middle East, small island countries and even richer countries in Europe and North America, nor does it take into account the migration wave across borders. The World Bank notes that this is an estimate, the actual number could be much higher.

Groundswell 2.0 makes it clear that climate change will be one of the main causes of migration waves in the coming decades. Water scarcity, food shortages, reduced crop yields, sea level rises, and global warming are seriously threatening the livelihoods and welfare of people in hotspots of climate change.

The public health crisis and economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have made the situation even more complicated.

The World Bank warns that if the world does not act decisively and vigorously, "climate migration" hotspots will soon emerge, as people have to leave places where they cannot sustain their lives and find opportunities to live elsewhere.

Juergen Voegele, Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank, estimated that the number of migrants could be reduced by 80%, to 44 million by 2050, if right now, countries accelerate the implementation of commitments to reduce "greenhouse gases", and implement decisive policies for sustainable development, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation.

In fact, climate change mostly affects the poorest, the most disadvantaged and vulnerable regions. Announcing the updated report, the WB has sounded a new emergency bell, so that the world can act immediately to stop the upcoming "migration wave" caused by climate change.