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I am honored to represent the United States at this vital summit on the intersection of the climate crisis and migration and displacement.  It’s clear from mounting evidence on every continent, and in every corner of the world, that the climate crisis is reshaping life as we know it. We know that climate change reduces economic growth, upends livelihoods, threatens water and food security, compromises health, and exacerbates violence and conflict. And, increasingly, it is driving historic levels of migration and displacement.

Faced with such sobering realities, the United States is taking action.

In October 2021, the White House released a groundbreaking report on the relationship between climate change and migration.  The first of its kind globally, the report recognized that this unprecedented movement of people includes both internal and cross-border mobility, where meeting the moment requires not only a whole-of-government, but a whole-of-society approach.  The report set out several recommendations, charting a path forward for U.S. multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, and regular migration pathways.

The U.S. Department of State and others across the U.S. government have sought to make good on those recommendations. Since the report’s release, we have contributed $5 million to the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) to support programs focused on climate change-affected migrants and refugees. This contribution has helped fund projects that support labor mobility in the Pacific, and address policy and data gaps related to climate and displacement in the Horn of Africa.

As further follow-up to the White House report, last June the State Department released its first strategy to address the impacts of climate change on migration and displacement.  This strategy emphasizes protection of those who are displaced and in situations of vulnerability, multilateral action, partnerships, and coordination.  It seeks to ensure that our humanitarian assistance, policy, and diplomacy respond to both the challenges and opportunities that human mobility presents in the context of the climate crisis.  This includes integrating climate change considerations in protection and other lawful migration pathways, and promoting refugee and migrant inclusion in adaptation and resilience efforts.

And, of course, the United States is not alone in our actions. Around the globe, progress on partnership to address climate and human mobility continues.  The United States commends the vision of the Kampala Declaration and its Addendum, announced earlier this month in Nairobi at the groundbreaking Africa Climate Summit.  The Kampala Declaration is the first comprehensive regional framework on the link between human mobility and climate change and stands as an example to other regions that the U.S. is eager to support at the Africa Climate Summit. That’s why Special Envoy Kerry announced that the United States intends to make a $4 million contribution to support a new program for the International Organization for Migration to support tens of thousands of migrants and refugees in Kenya facing the growing impacts of the climate crisis.

As we move ahead together, it is essential that we base our decisions on sound evidence.  So we are continuing to seek synergies between data from the fields of climate science and migration research that can inform strategies for early warning and resilience, with the goal of minimizing the impacts of climate change on migration and displacement.  We also are exploring how this data can better inform our humanitarian and migration pathways, as well as our programming and assistance.

The United States is committed to efforts supporting safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration, particularly for vulnerable groups, and ensuring access to international protection.  This commitment is ever more important as climate change continues to disrupt and redefine our world. I look forward to hearing from others about policies and programs that you have set in place or are considering, so that we all can learn from each other and build common cause.  No one country can do this alone, and the United States stands ready to work with diverse and dynamic partners like you all in this room.

U.S. Department of State

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