OTTAWA – The theme of this year’s UN World Refugee Day: Global Compact on Refugees calls for investment in communities that host refugees to help ease the pressure on the host and to help refugees become self-reliant. The UN underscores the urgency of strengthening the international response to large migrations of refugees and protracted refugees situations.
“The climate emergency is exacerbating an already burgeoning global refugee situation,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Adding to the desperation that compels people to flee war, violence and poverty, are the devastating impacts of a warming climate – drought, famine, floods, sea level rise and wildfires. It’s only going to get worse. Canada and other countries need to prepare for a humanitarian crisis.”
The Environmental Justice Foundation is calling for explicit recognition that people are being forcibly displaced from their homes by climate change. Northern communities, vulnerable low-income people, including women and children, will be disproportionately affected. The UN Refugee Agency also cites lack of drinking water, depletion of livestock and sustainable agriculture in climate ‘hotspots’, as threatening livelihoods and exacerbating food insecurity.
“Years ago, at the Global Greens Congress in Sao Paulo, the Green Party became the first to call for recognition of climate refugees as legitimate refugees. This is a global crisis and it will take an all hands on deck approach to address it,” said Ms. May “We already have hundreds of Canadian climate refugees – people displaced by wildfires, floods and tornadoes. Now people from other countries are applying for climate refugee status in Canada. The time for leadership is now.”
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