Distinguished Delegates, Chair, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the U.S. government on the intersection between climate change, food security, migration, and displacement.  We appreciate IOM’s work in supporting communities to improve the resilience of people at risk of climate change and migration impacts, while meeting critical humanitarian needs around the world.

President Biden’s 2021 Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration outlines U.S. government efforts to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to climate-related migration.  It also explores our efforts to scale up support to migrants, as well as sending and receiving communities.  This includes integrating climate and migration policy and programming.  The United States has a long history of standing in solidarity with people affected by climate and weather crises, as well as other complex emergencies.

The effects of climate change and food insecurity on migration and forced displacement are significant.  Drought, flooding, wildfires, and extreme weather events all contribute to displacing people from agricultural areas and can spur and amplify conflict.  Moreover, they increase the number of food insecure migrants and increase malnutrition in vulnerable migrant populations, especially children.  Across the globe, climate impacts are placing additional stress on communities already facing food insecurity, limited economic opportunities, social or political marginalization, conflict, and poor governance – including uneven or inequitable delivery of services.

Marginalized groups – especially women and girls, older adults, and disabled persons – are disproportionately affected by climate crises, food insecurity, and displacement.  It is critical that we keep key gender, inclusion, and protection concerns at the forefront of all response efforts.

Comprehensive solutions must not only contribute to climate resilience in affected areas but also strengthen safe options and offer protection, as appropriate, for those who leave.

As a global community, we are now at a point where we need to move beyond discussions of the severity of the crisis and onto concrete action to implement the necessary solutions.

President Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience – better known as PREPARE – was announced at COP26.  It aims to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change. Through PREPARE, we are investing in early warning systems, increasing agricultural climate resilience in least developed countries, and helping promote climate smart agriculture and food systems.

PREPARE also builds on the White House Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration by addressing key drivers of irregular migration.  We are responding to displacement, supporting those who choose to move as a risk management strategy, and assisting trapped populations.

The United States is committed to improving the wellbeing of people who migrate or are displaced by climatic events as well as the people and communities that receive them.

To cite just a few examples, the United States is:

  • Contributing $5 million to the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for climate-affected migrants;
  • Scaling up humanitarian food assistance globally, contributing nearly $6 billion dollars to the World Food Program in FY2022. This includes deploying Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food to quickly and effectively address malnutrition in the most impacted populations;
  • Supporting research programs in Asia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere on the impact of climate change on migration to inform policymaking; and
  • Supporting regional programs at IOM to strengthen diplomacy to place climate change and migration on the agenda of regional consultative processes.

In addition, the United States government is committed to providing safe, legal pathways for those seeking to work in the United States.  The H-2 seasonal temporary worker visa program is an important pathway that mitigates irregular migration and provides economic opportunities to workers and their families.

Keeping in mind the intertwined nature of climate change and food insecurity, we’ve also invested in efforts to improve the climate resilience of food systems, through expansion of our Feed the Future program to eight new target countries, and through contributions to the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

In closing, I thank you again for this opportunity to discuss the many new coordinated lines of effort to address the impact of the climate crisis on migration and forced displacement.  I look forward to future collaboration on these significant issues.

Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future