Addressing Forced Displacement in Climate Change Adaptation: No Longer A Blind Spot

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
Posted on: 12/08/2023 - Updated on: 12/08/2023

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This paper shows that climate-related forced displacement is insufficiently addressed in two fundamental commitments made towards the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) between 2015 and 2023: National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). It describes the important role NAPs and NDCs play in prioritising the tackling of certain aspects of climate change adaptation, identifies gaps on forced displacement, and proposes ways of adding it among their policy objectives, and of mobilising finance to reach them.

There are few more pressing issues today than climate change, the policies to address it at its roots, and those to adapt to it effects. The OECD’s International Programme for Action on Climate (IPAC) has made meeting this challenge a priority. But despite increasing global ambition to address climate change, we continue to head towards an environmental crisis, with widening societal gaps, sweeping structural economic change – and low- and middle-income countries particularly at peril. Amongst the challenges is the uprooting of populations living in areas no longer deemed economically viable or safe.

Forced displacement, within countries and across borders, is interrelated with climate change. Millions of people have no alternative but to move because of climate change. Displacement as such constitutes an adaptation strategy. Yet, forced displacement continues to be perceived primarily as a humanitarian issue, and a secondary area of policy action. Ignoring the eventual effects of climate change on human mobility will not only lead to human loss, it will also disrupt economies, and make development co-operation less effective in the long run.

This paper highlights a pathway through which forced displacement can be addressed structurally and with a long-term vision on climate change adaptation. It is part of a series of papers on addressing forced displacement with a long-term perspective across all dimensions of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, issued jointly by the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate and the OECD Development Centre. It is a deliverable of the forced displacement workstream of the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), and of the joint DCD-DEV workplan on forced displacement.


OECD (2023), "Addressing forced displacement in climate change adaptation: No longer a blind spot", OECD Development Policy Papers, No. 46, OECD Publishing, Paris,

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Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

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