Climate change is impacting the lives and livelihoods of people around the world and is one of the greatest challenges of our time, requiring urgent collective action.
Diaspora groups are powerhouses of innovation in their countries of residence and origin. Their contribution, for example through remittances, direct investment, philanthropy and skills transfer, is widely recognised. They are also among the first to respond when a disaster strikes in their countries of origin, but governments are yet to develop frameworks, policies and programmes that can unlock diasporas’ global connections and potential in accelerating climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Diaspora groups have the knowledge, skills, and global connections that are crucial to accelerate climate action in their countries of origins and on a larger scale.
The UK is home to some of the largest diaspora communities worldwide and to help leverage this untapped potential, IOM UK launches the Diaspora for Climate Action (D4C) project.The project will enable diaspora members to build connections with key stakeholders in Bangladesh, Jamaica, Ghana and Albania that can help them achieve more effective and coordinated climate action, and greater and longer-lasting impacts on climate-vulnerable populations.
These four countries are all significantly affected by the negative impacts of climate change, and the challenges they face require immediate and effective responses and mobilization of resources from a variety of stakeholders.
This initiative is funded by IOM Development Fund, working with IOM missions and relevant ministries in these four countries, and will contribute to government efforts to address the adverse impacts of climate change and promote sustainable development. D4C aims to create a model for other countries to promote the unique role diaspora can play in shaping national climate action policies and interventions alongside governments and other actors.
IOM defines Diaspora as ‘Migrants or descendants of migrants whose identity and sense of belonging, either real or symbolic, have been shaped by their migration experience and background. They maintain links with their homelands, and to each other, based on a shared sense of history, identity, or mutual experiences in the destination country’ (IOM Glossary, 2019).
London Climate Action Week 2023: Bridging Local Actors and Global Aspirations
Climate change is the greatest global challenge of our times, and it requires the mobilisation of entire societies. Diasporas around the world are already playing a key role in advancing climate action, sustainable development and humanitarian assistance in disaster-affected areas, by contributing their expertise, ideas, connections and resources to both countries of heritage and residence. Cities, especially those with large migrant populations, are well placed to foster innovative and inclusive approaches to climate action by mobilising their diasporas and providing platforms that enable the exchange of learnings and implementation of good practices in their communities of origin and residence. During London Climate Action Week 2023, as part of the D4C project, IOM UK hosted an online discussion on the role of diasporas as bridges between cities and key actors in global climate action. Keynote speakers: Indira Kartallozi, Founder of Sustainability Leadership Kosova, Denis Kierans, Researcher, The Migration Observatory and Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity, including Inclusive Cities, Soumyadeep Banerjee, Regional Migration, Environment, and Climate Change Specialist )Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia) IOM, Victor Kotey, Deputy Director, Waste Management, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh. Moderator: Marta Foresti, Founder and CEO of LAGO, and Visiting Senior Fellow at ODI.
In November 2022, IOM UK supported the participation of UK-based diaspora representative in key dialogues at Cop27.
"Member States and policymakers should create the enabling environment for the diaspora to support climate action. Climate programmes need to be inclusive so that people in the diaspora have opportunities to make connections and build networks for climate action in their countries of origin." Gideon Commey, environmental activist from Ghana and doctoral researcher in food systems in the UK.
Take charge of your future
Understand what needs to change
Build the confidence
Challenge decision makers
Request change to happen
On International Women Day 2023, we spoke to diaspora women leaders based in the UK and supporting sustainable development & Climate Action in their countries of residence and origin.