Climate change

Germany needs a strategy for climate-related migration

In the first half of 2023, the German government plans to finalise its first strategy on Climate Foreign Policy. It should also contain a way forward for Germany on climate-related migration, argues Hannes Einsporn, Senior Project Manager Migration, in a current policy brief together with experts from the German Council on Foreign Relations. 

Julia Rommel
Adobe Stock/Riccardo Niels Mayer
April 05, 2023

Migration, displacement and planned relocation in the context of climate change are no longer distant future scenarios. Climate-related migration is already a reality. Global warming of at least 1.5°C will cause more people to migrate in the coming decades, especially within particularly affected countries and regions. Should the earth warm even more, numerous areas, some of which are densely populated today, would become uninhabitable.

Climate crisis and migration are becoming key challenges of this century

The German government's strategy on Climate Foreign Policy must therefore also take into account the serious consequences of climate change, write the authors in their paper. This includes enabling local adaptation and creating safe and regular migration routes. The experts formulate a series of recommendations for the government’s new strategy. Among other things, they call for  

- supporting vulnerable people in planned relocation or migration when the limits of adaptation have been reached.

-  unbureaucratic temporary protection, for example by means of humanitarian visas, to those who have to leave their place of residence at short notice due to climate change-related natural disasters or climate impacts. In the long term, the German government should advocate for a right to protection under international law for those being displacement due to climate change within states and beyond state borders.

- enable labour migration for those people particularly affected by climate change - and thus take a pragmatic step towards regular, safe and orderly migration.


“Climate-related migration is already a reality especially within those countries and regions that are particularly affected. The strategy planned by the German government for foreign climate policy should also have answers to this.”

Quote fromHannes Einsporn, Senior Project Manager Migration at Robert Bosch Stiftung
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