The Climate Crisis is a Human Crisis

We at UNHCR are calling on all leaders and governments at COP26 to take urgent action to combat climate change.  This is a crisis that can no longer be ignored. Refugees and internally displaced people are at the frontline of this climate emergency and entire populations are already suffering the consequences of rising temperatures and extreme weather events. For 80 million refugees and displaced people worldwide, climate change is the greatest threat in a world already marred by violence and conflict.

In 2019, a staggering 1,900 weather-related disasters caused unimaginable suffering for 25 million people in 140 countries and territories. This figure is the highest since 2012 (IDMC).

For people already displaced by conflict and violence, climate change is an emergency on top of an emergency.

UNHCR’s work on the ground allows us to see first-hand the more frequent and intense disasters, wildfires, flooding, droughts. These disastrous events are disrupting food security, displacing families, destroying livelihood and fueling conflict.

Together we can make a difference and demand collective action. The effects of climate change will have catastrophic consequences for millions of people around the world.

For the past 70 years, UNHCR has been on the frontline of conflict, protecting people forced to flee their homes. Now this has also become the frontline of climate change. UNHCR is on the ground protecting families and helping to support, prevent, prepare, and build resilience in the face of this emergency. But we all need to step up our efforts.

According to the latest research, without dramatic action to mitigate climate change and significantly reduce the risk of climate disasters, by 2050, 200 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance annually due to the effects of climate change.

For these reasons, we ask the leaders at COP26 to urgently promote measures to combat climate change and prevent the increase in forced displacement and the growing vulnerabilities of those already forced to flee, in accordance with the requests of the UN Secretary General. The human cost of inaction is too great. We have no time to wait.

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