Re-imagining Human Mobility

Environmental changes and natural disasters have played a role in how the population is distributed on the planet throughout history. However, undesirable environmental changes directly created or amplified by climate change extensively changed the patterns of human settlement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that climate change led to dramatic increase in human migration as communities became unable to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Millions of people around the world had to leave their homes because of disasters that negatively affected their lives. Slow changes in the environment, such as ocean acidification, desertification and coastal erosion, are also directly impacting people’s livelihoods and their capacity to survive in their places of origin. This was added by the degradation of land used for agriculture and farming, the disruption of fragile ecosystems and the depletion of precious natural resources like fresh water which directly impact people’s lives and homes.

About 4 million Filipinos were living in internal displacement as a result of disasters in 2019, making the Philippines the second largest country in terms of displacements globally. Additionally, there are more than 1 million newly-recorded displacements this November due to the back-to-back typhoons that recently hit the country.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted mobility as a major theme in people’s lives, and some segments of society have been more deeply affected by temporary travel restrictions and other health measures than others. The current health crisis has called attention to migrants’ potentially heightened vulnerabilities, but also their contributions to societies in a variety of sectors. Migrants often perform jobs that are essential to critical infrastructure operations, ranging from health care and transport to construction, agriculture and food processing.

Unity and cooperation among relevant government instrumentalities and stakeholders must continue the efficient delivery of services to communities severely impacted by the pandemic and the recent extreme weather events. We learn, create, and work together to ensure that no one will be left behind in the context of social and climate justice.


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