Asia and the Pacific consists of the world’s largest landmass and is home to over 4.3 billion people. The region comprises small island states in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean and archipelagos such as Indonesia and the Philippines; landlocked or arid countries like Mongolia and Iran; mountainous countries spanning the HindukushHimalayan ranges such as Nepal and Bhutan; and large river basins and deltas of the Yangtze, Mekong, Brahmaputra covering China, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

As a function of its size, population and topographical diversity, the region is highly exposed to climate change and natural hazards. Frequently occurring sudden-onset disasters linked to climate change such as floods and storms, while slow-onset disasters including sea-level rise, coastal erosion, ocean acidification and droughts have significant impacts on national GDP as countries incur significant losses and fatalities, particularly when the disasters are at their most intense. The effect on human mobility is also significant. Between 2008-2016, more than 186 million people1 were displaced by sudden-onset disasters in Asia and the Pacific– accounting for 82% of all disaster displacement in the world. Although difficult to enumerate, slow-onset disasters accelerated by climate change combine with other economic, social and political drivers of human mobility. This results in environmental migration which may occur either pre-emptively or in response to progressively deteriorating environmental conditions, within national or across national borders.

To deal with the challenges of environmental migration, IOM in Asia and the Pacific works to assess the evidence of the migration, environment and climate change nexus and to support policymakers with data and information to develop and integrate mobility into relevant climate change policy frameworks. This is closely linked to IOM’s work at the community level on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.