Cities, Climate and Migration: The role of cities at the climate-migration nexus

William Roderick, Snigdha Garg, Luisa Miranda Morel, Kate Brick and Maggie Powers
Date of Publication: 
March, 2021
Source Organization: 

The authors of this report are concerned that there is still no comprehensive legal framework to define people driven to move by climate change nor any kind of international protection mechanism for such individuals. This gap leaves people on the frontlines, like mayors of major cities around the world, without the legal, financial or policy support tools to deal with the problem. Whether cities are the origin, transit point or destination for climate-induced migration, the intersection of climate impacts and migration – the climate-migration nexus – is relevant to them because climate-induced migration flows affect urban communities, infrastructure, services and socio-economic health. In addition, local action to mitigate or adapt to the climate crisis has the potential to advance the inclusion of migrants and displaced people or further entrench their marginalisation and exposure to inequality and risk.  Nevertheless, some mayors are leading the way by showing what equitable and inclusive climate action looks like in practice. Cities such as Anchorage (U.S.), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Bristol (UK), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Houston (U.S.) provide critical examples of city leadership in this area. This paper not only describes their efforts but also identifies a number of potential entry points for cities to play a greater role, alongside national and international bodies in defining and implementing new policies in this area. (Stephanie Depauw for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute) 


Brick, K., Garg, S., Morel, L. M., Powers, M., & Roderick, W. (2021, March). Cities, Climate and Migration: The role of cities at the climate-migration nexus. C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.