COP22: Resilient Cities, Climate Change and Migration

When, local time: 
Friday, 11 November 2016 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm
Morocco, Marrakech
Type of Event: 
Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Pedro Monreal Gonzalez,

UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme will organize a day of panel discussions in the context of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016. The panel discussions will take place throughout the day on 11 November 2016 in the UNESCO Pavilion.

This panel will explore the dynamics between migration, environment, climate change and cities. It will showcase the added value of UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme activities in relation to climate change, and in particular: the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities − ICCAR and the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme.

One of the priorities of UNESCO’s MOST Programme is to focus on the background causes, processes and social implications of migration. This theme is a political and key social transformations challenge. This was underlined by the UN General Assembly, which hosted, on 19 September 2016, the first high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together in a more human and coordinated approach.

Presentations will address the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on migration and cities. Environmental change is a migration driver of increasing importance, often exacerbating already existing poverty and exclusion with an important focus on women and girls who are largely affected by environmental change and its impact on economic and social development.

They will equally address the environmentally-driven causes of migration and its social implications. Specifically, the panel will provide an overview of the Ministerial Declaration with policy recommendations of the First Forum of Ministers of Social Development in Central Africa, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, in October 2016, focusing on “Insecurity and migration: The impact on women and youth”.

Since cities are the most frequent destination of environmental migrants. Urbanization is set to continue as a significant trend over the next fifty years, migrants are facing a number of challenges related to the need to adapt to, and manage increased migration due to environmental change. City authorities need to be well-placed to respond to these challenges and opportunities, and to the increasing diversity of more and more globalized urban settlements.

Recognizing that sustainable urban development, migration and gender equality go hand in hand, cities should also be committed to advancing gender equality within its own respective mandates and programmes, emphasizing that both women and men migrants are vectors of positive change in urban areas.

Thus, cities are obliged to design and implement forward-looking strategies – taking into account human rights principles and a gender equality dimension - allowing them to anticipate and plan for the effects of increased environmental migration.