African states endorse pact to tackle climate-induced forced migration

By Xinhua
On 6 September 2023 at 02:04

Forty-eight African countries on Monday signed a continental pact that seeks to address forced migration linked to climate emergencies ravaging the continent.

The signing ceremony that was held on the sidelines of the Africa Climate Summit, underway in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, was attended by ministers, and representatives of multilateral and humanitarian agencies.

Dubbed the Kampala declaration on migration, environment, and climate change, the continental pact that was conceived in July 2022 seeks to address the nexus between human mobility and the negative impacts of global warming in Africa.

Soipan Tuya, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for environment, climate change, and forestry, said that by endorsing the Kampala declaration, African states reaffirmed their commitment to providing a safe haven to the rising toll of climate refugees in the continent.

"As the climate crisis escalates, it is leaving behind a huge population of displaced persons who require all forms of assistance. The Kampala declaration is therefore a call to attend to the needs of victims of climate emergencies," Tuya said.

The Kampala declaration that was originally endorsed by 14 African states in July 2022 during a meeting in the Ugandan capital is a home-grown initiative that aims to find a lasting solution to climate-induced forced mobility, said Beatrice Atim Anywar, the Ugandan minister of state for environment.

According to Anywar, climatic shocks have escalated the displacement of civilians in the Horn of Africa and Sahel region, to the detriment of stability, cohesion, and long-term growth.

Amy Pope, the director general-elect of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a specialized UN migration agency, noted that the recurrence of calamities linked to climate change alongside poverty and conflict has worsened the displacement of civilians in Africa.

Pope stressed that governments and bilateral partners should prioritize adaptation financing to boost the resilience of communities living in climate hotspots including the Horn of Africa.

Mohamed Abdiker, IOM regional director for East and Horn of Africa, said the Kampala declaration provides a platform for African nations to tackle climate-induced migration and realize sustainability goals.