The harmful consequences of climate change are becoming more evident every day. No region or country in the world is exempt. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the environmental, economic and social consequences will only worsen, and it is inevitable that conflict and climate migration will start to occur more frequently.
Since the Industrial Revolution, global average temperatures have risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit). Its fallout has been seen in all aspects of life. From food security to energy shortages, several concerns surround the world. Poverty is therefore expected to increase worldwide due to the climate crisis itself.
In this context, climate security is today widely debated. The discussion includes not only the risks and threats that endanger people’s lives, the continuity of ecosystems and the well-being of countries, but also policies and actions to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change. climate change.
The correlation between crises
Many societies, especially people in small island states, are suffering the cruel effects of climate change and climate security challenges. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) warns that due to rising sea levels due to climate change, the existence of island states like Kiribati, the Maldives or the Marshall Islands is in danger . These problems inevitably reinforce climatic migrations, which have increased rapidly in recent years.
Nowadays, environmental problems are increasingly correlated with displacement and migration. According to the World Bank’s Groundswell report, by 2050, 216 million people in six regions of the world will be forced to move within their countries. This shows that cities and socially sensitive groups will be affected.
In June 2021, Bangladesh announced that the number of Bangladeshi âclimate migrantsâ displaced by climate change had exceeded 10 million. The country, which is currently home to 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, is affected by climate change. Bangladesh also said that predicted sea level rise by 2050 will cause 17% of Bangladesh’s coastline to submerge, meaning more than 20 million people will have to migrate.
Citizens of African and Asian countries, in particular, are already migrating due to climate-related issues. However, in addition, people in parts of North America and Europe may also be forced to emigrate. Therefore, as the impact of climate change intensifies, there is a strong possibility that migration from these countries will increase.
Migration, climate relations and mitigation measures are also included in various international agreements on climate change. The relationship between climate change and migration was first included in studies under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the context of the Cancun 2010 Adaptation Framework, and the importance of strengthening cooperation in these areas was stressed. The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage Associated with the Impacts of Climate Change integrated the approaches identified to mitigate damage from climate change, and human mobility was included in the five main strategic studies identified.
Another important UN document that deals with the link between climate change and migration is the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015. The United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 also includes the relationship between climate change and migration. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is another document that takes a comprehensive and holistic approach to international migration and includes commitments on natural disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation.
As countries grapple with the influx of migrants and refugees, restrictive policies have been implemented to control the flow of undocumented migrants and in particular the European Union’s efforts to prevent undocumented migration have increased . With the refugee crisis of 2015, the issue of forced migration and asylum seekers has become the center of the agenda of all countries, including the EU. This paved the way for studies and international agreements linking climate change and migration.
Impact on Turkey
The negative effects of climate change and the security and migration problems it causes are high on the agenda for Turkey as well as other countries. As the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underline, Turkey, as a country in the Mediterranean macroclimatic region, is in a very vulnerable position in the face of the negative effects of climate change. Temperatures are expected to rise and precipitation to decrease over the coming period. It is expected that this will negatively affect development, cause regional inequalities and negatively affect water and food security. Turkey is particularly affected by human mobility due to its geographic location, social structure, historical proximity and economic conditions. It is crucial that we study this effect through scientific studies.
Turkey faces a possible migration and refugee crisis. Several reasons, including climatic problems, increase migratory flows to the country. From countries far away, like Afghanistan, to those just beyond its border, like Syria, migrants and refugees continue to move to Turkey. However, when we assess migration movements in the context of neighboring countries, we cannot expect people to immediately flee the 2021 drought in Iraq; likewise, the same logic applies to the situation in Iran. If the drought continues, people will migrate first inland and then out.
In the context of current migratory movements, many migrate to Turkey, especially from South Asia. As of August 2021, Afghanistan was the source of the largest number of irregular migrants in Turkey, while Pakistan ranks third. Drought affected 80% of Afghanistan in 2021. However, drought is not the only reason for Afghan migration. The increased conflict caused by the Taliban takeover also played an important role.
Thus, as the numerous migratory studies carried out on examples such as Syria and Afghanistan have revealed, in addition to the deterioration of living conditions due to drought and other climatic disasters, it has been observed that there is an increase in the formation of radical groups and internal conflicts when the central and social state is not strong.
In this regard, although drought is not the only reason for migration to these regions, it can be said that drought is one of the most important initial factors that worsen the living conditions of local people working in the region. agriculture, triggering migration. In addition, political instability in the Middle East and conflicts between the various international powers in the region also play an important role.
Turkey has become the center of attraction for immigration to the region as it is the most reliable, democratic, economically developed and politically stable country in the region. The increase in migration from South Asia, the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Middle East due to both climate change and other reasons in the future is seen as a threat to the Turkey and EU countries. In the current conditions, where the issue of climate migration is gaining more and more importance on the international agenda, it is essential to consider the management of migration alongside the effects of climate change.