"Most important, we need more action," IOM Director General William Swing told reporters. "We need to support those who are being ravaged by climate change to migrate with dignity."
Climate change has forced a record number of people to migrate either within their home countries or abroad, according to IOM. Although there are no reliable estimates, forecasts predict up to a billion environmental migrants by 2050.
He said more reliable data should be collected worldwide to give governments strong evidence on the urgency of the climate change issue, and push them to make policy needed to address it.
Swing also stated that it is a significant progress that the draft version of Paris climate agreement recognizes the need to protect people who have been affected by the consequences of climate change.
“It is the first time we have an actual specific reference to protecting people made vulnerable by climate change. We would prefer more, but it is sufficient to show progress, we are happy already with that,” he said.
Swing added that people need to be protected and respected when they are faced with the ravage of climate change.
The Paris Climate Change Conference, running November 30 — December 11, is expected to result in the signing of a global agreement on the measures necessary to prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius, including greenhouse gas emissions cut targets, as an increase of average global temperatures of 2 degrees or more has been scientifically proven to have disastrous consequences for the planet.
Extreme weather events, sea-level rise and acceleration of environmental degradation, which also affect food and water availability, are some of the causes for climate-related migration.