Climate Induced Migration and Displacement Conference

Monday, October 1, 2018

A two-day conference focusing on climate induced migration and displacement will be hosted at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale on October 12-13. His Excellency Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, will give the keynote lecture on “Migration with Dignity.” (visit website for details and program)

The purpose of the conference is to draw attention to the scope, complexity, and urgency of climate migration and displacement issues as the fall United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussions approach. A key component of the program will be an analysis of the climate science needed to support international law and policy

“A recent World Bank report suggests that by 2050, 143 million persons will soon find themselves displaced by either slow moving weather events, such as rising ocean waters which will submerge entire islands, or dramatic weather events, such as Hurricane Maria,” said conference organizer Maya Prabhu, MD, LLB, Assistant Professor in the Division of Law and Psychiatry in the School of Medicine. “These events won’t just affect persons far away from the U.S. but close to home. The conference is to help connect the dots between weather events and migration within and over borders and to galvanize academic and policy responses to help communities and countries prepare.”

The conference speakers and topics include: Rob Klee, Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on state-led climate initiatives; Erica Bower, formerly of UNHCR, on “Unpacking myths around climate change and human mobility:  Beyond ‘Climate Refugees”; Edward Gardiner, Ph.D., NOAA-Affiliate, on the “Climate Resilience Toolkit”; Michael Kruk, ERT, Inc. at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information on “Climate Projections”;  Robert Brammer, Ph.D., American Bar Association, on “Climate-Induced Displacements and Systems Thinking”; Ayman Cherkaoui, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Morocco and Former Special Advisor of the Presidency for COP22/23 on “Climate Migration and the Paris Accord;”  Kanta Kumari Rigaud, World Bank on “Economic Development Planning for population displacement”; Benoit Mayer, Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, on “Overview of the legal and policy architecture regarding climate-induced displacement”; Meredith Niess, MD, MPH, Fair Haven Community Health Care and Marietta Vasquez, MD, Director Yale Children’s Hispanic Clinic, on “Responding to the Puerto Rican Diaspora after Hurricane Maria”; Elizabeth Fussell, Brown University, on “Recovery and Resilience after Hurricane Katrina”; Christina Hioureas, Foley Hoag, on “The Legal Status of Submerged States”; and Mayesha Alam, Yale Department of Political Science, on “When Natural and Humanitarian Disasters Converge: A Case Study on the Rohingya Refugee Influx in Bangladesh.”

The October 13 experts’ event will focus on specific legal challenges and scientific questions that will arise in the fall United Nations Climate Change Accord discussions relating to climate migration.

The conference is sponsored by the Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses at the MacMillan Center with generous support from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund, the Law and Psychiatry Division of Yale School of Medicine, the Asian American Cultural Center and the Woodward Lectureship.