The rapidly emerging effects of climate change have resulted in large scale impacts on vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and water resources (IPCC, 2014). These consequences involve exacerbating hazards such as bigger and more intense cyclones, shifting rainfall patterns and stronger storm surges. Many communities from Thailand and neighboring countries are responding to shocks such as flooding and poor crop yields through shifting migratory patterns and livelihood strategies.
Thus, the impacts of climate change are one of the factors affecting decision making at the household and individual level. Internal and international migration are seen as a viable adaptation strategy by those communities facing the negative effects on their livelihoods. This also means that migrant communities coming to work in Thailand must be considered when planning for emergencies, and disaster risk reduction.
IOM Thailand has been working with migrant communities throughout Thailand to build the capacity of migrants in disaster preparedness and response. The Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative provided an essential set of guidelines which IOM Thailand continues to utilize while engaging with migrants and host communities to increase their access to risk information and improve their capacity to cope with crises through conducting activities such as training of trainers and evacuation simulations.
Provided that environmental migration is adequately managed and facilitated the negative consequences associated with migration such as increasing pressure on infrastructure and services as well as declining health and educational outcomes among migrants can be minimized. Migrants have a wealth of experiences and skills that can positively contribute to the resilience of Thailand and their remittances to their families back home offers a critical injection of cash flow which can help preserve local communities and support investments in building resilience.
IOM Thailand is working to raise awareness on the new trends and migration patterns brought about by climate change and liaising with government counterparts at national and provincial levels to better understand how migrants can contribute and be part of the resilience strategies of Thai communities.
The Organization pursues three broad objectives in managing environmental migration, intervening at each stage of the migration cycle:
- To minimize forced and unmanaged migration as much as possible;
- Where forced migration does occur, to ensure assistance and protection for those affected and to seek durable solutions; and
- To facilitate the role of migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change.
IOM Strategic Aims
Governments and authorities are empowered, policymakers’ and practitioners’ capacities are enhanced to address complex migration, environment and climate matters;
Responses to support migrants and vulnerable communities are enabled and improved; and
Human mobility matters are integrated in key policy areas dealing with climate, environment and land.
IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Barros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 688 pp.