Cities, Climate and Migration

The convergence of climate change and migration in cities

Rising sea levels, increasing resource scarcity, acute desertification and greater frequency and severity of extreme weather events are having complex and cascading impacts across the globe. One significant impact is human mobility. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that by 2050 there could be between 25 million to 1 billion people moving either within their countries or across borders for climate-related reasons. Most of these journeys will lead to cities.

Despite increasing recognition of need, there is still no comprehensive legal or policy framework to define people driven to move by climate, nor any internationally agreed and implemented protection mechanism. This gap affects, first and foremost, the people who move and are forcibly displaced. Critically, this also leaves those responding on the frontlines – city leaders – without the legal, financial or policy support to proactively address the challenges and leverage the opportunities.

Cities such as Anchorage (United States), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Bristol (UK), Dhaka (Bangladesh), São Paulo (Brazil) and Houston (United States) provide examples of city leadership in addressing the challenges and opportunities that emerge at the climate-migration nexus. They are taking inclusive and integrated approaches to policymaking on this issue, leading inclusive communications and community engagement strategies, and ensuring inclusive and equitable service provision.

This paper, the result of a partnership between C40 Cities (C40) and Mayors Migration Council (MMC), draws on the experience of those cities and more to:

  • Provide city officials, experts, and practitioners with a clearer understanding of how the complex dynamics of climate change and migration play out in cities, affecting critical infrastructures and socio-economic health.
  • Identify good practices from around the globe.
  • Provide a resource for city advocacy efforts to ensure national and international frameworks and policymaking provide the financial, policy, data, and capacity-building support necessary for cities to continue leading the way.

To learn more and follow the MMC’s research, advocacy, and activities, visit our Climate Migration Hub or email

Source : Mayor Migration Council

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