Press Release

Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) nexus in the context of Serbia

04 December 2023

IOM Serbia is launching a project with the support of IOM Development Fund (IDF) aiming to investigate yet insufficiently researched issue of migration, environment, and climate change (MECC) nexus in the context of Serbia.

Climate change, environmental degradation, natural hazards, human-induced disasters, and their impact on people’s lives have globally come to the forefront of issues requiring urgent action and development of mitigating and/or adaptation measures. Human mobility, although an age-old phenomenon closely interlinked with environmental and climatic factors, has started to attract growing attention in the context of climate change, bringing the rediscovery of the concept of “environmental migration”.

This is due to the fact that human mobility is expected to scale up as intense weather-related events become more frequent and affect livelihoods. Also, migration is being increasingly acknowledged as an effective and viable adaptation strategy in the face of environmental and climate change.

There is no legally agreed upon definition of environmental migrants and migration. The one put forward by IOM is as follows: Environmental migrants are persons or groups of persons who, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their homes or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad.

As outlined in the 2022 Report of the Sixth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “increasing adaptive capacities minimises the negative impacts of climate-related displacement and involuntary migration for migrants and sending and receiving areas. This improves the degree of choice under which migration decisions are made, ensuring safe and orderly movements of people within and between countries.”

Being a signatory of relevant international treaties, Serbia has confirmed its commitment to contributing to global efforts against climate change and made considerable efforts in fulfilling its responsibilities and achieving the set goals. However, the connection between climate change, environment, and human mobility in the context of Serbia remains yet to be explored. To investigate this connection in the context of Serbia and ensure that the national stakeholders have improved understanding of this issue, IOM Serbia has developed a pilot project supported by the IOM Development Fund (IDF).

Within this initiative, IOM Serbia will bring together relevant sectoral representatives and academia in a capacity building training in Belgrade, laying the foundations of a fruitful discussion on human mobility types in the context of environmental and climate change relevant in Serbia, and exchange of relevant knowledge and expertise. Disaster displacement, evacuation, labour migration, migrants in vulnerable situations in transit are some of the mobility pathways to be discussed during the training, with particular concern for vulnerability of affected populations, communities, and the overall society.

Further action in this regard will be made as such efforts contribute to scaling up climate change adaptation, further enabling empowered and informed decisions on human mobility by individuals, communities, and governments.

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Organization for Migration

Goals we are supporting through this initiative