“We can no longer talk about climate change without talking about human mobility.”
The Continental Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (KDMECC-AFRICA) outlines 25 commitments by its signatory countries to address the effects of climate change on human mobility in Africa.
In July 2022, the Government of Uganda, supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UNFCCC and East Africa Development Bank's (EADB’s) Regional Collaboration Centre for East and Southern Africa (RCC EAS Africa) brought together 16 African Member States (MSs) in Kampala, Uganda and developed the first Regional Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (KDMECC). The Declaration, which was initially signed by 15 African MSs has already moved towards implementation with the formation of an Expert Working Group (EWG) in May 2023. The EWG comprises climate and migration experts from signatory countries and regional bodies as well as youth climate advocates. It is supported by IOM to ensure that signatory states meet the commitments and priorities they articulated in the KDMECC.
Expansion of the KDMECC
Since 2022, there has been a rapidly growing recognition and interest in the KDMECC as a comprehensive and action-oriented framework, which addresses the challenges and opportunities of climate-induced mobility in practical and effective ways.
In early 2023, His Excellencies President Museveni of Uganda and President Ruto of Kenya expressed interest in collaborating to expand the KDMECC continentally during the first Africa Climate Summit, which was hosted in Nairobi in September 2023. IOM recognises that sustainable, climate-change resilient and socially just development cannot be conceived without considering human mobility in all its forms and recognising the importance of facilitating migration for the benefit of both sending and receiving locations and states, and thus agreed to support the expansion.
To ensure close consultation with Members States across the continent, IOM partnered with the UNFCCC and EADB’s RCC EAS Africa and the United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (US PRM) to bring 48 African States to a high-level technical conference of states in August 2023 in Nairobi. During the 3-day conference, technical experts discussed and finalized the Continental Addendum ahead of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) with the Objective to “Catalyse support for continental policy development and implementation, in particular the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change.”
The signing of the KDMECC-AFRICA was officiated by the governments of Kenya and Uganda, with support from IOM, the UNFCCC and EADB’s RCC EAS Africa, and US PRM on 4 September 2023 at the Africa Climate Summit.
The Addendum was developed in four languages: English, French, Arabic, and Portuguese.
Youth engagement on Migration, Environment and Climate Change
In an effort to make sure that young people have a say in important policymaking, IOM worked together with UNFCCC, EADB's RCC EAS Africa, YOUNGO (Youth Constituency under the UNFCCC) and Chatham House to involve youth representatives from each of the countries in the East and Horn of Africa in a training program. This program aimed to empower the youth with the knowledge and skills they needed before the Kampala Ministerial Conference on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (MECC) in July 2022.
Youth representatives worked alongside experienced government and UN experts to create a statement representing the views and ideas of young people, which was delivered at the Ministerial session. This statement included requests, recommendations, commitments and contributions from young people concerning the issue of migration caused by climate change. Three key points from this youth statement were included into the original KDMECC.
Read a blog: Youth Reflections
To ensure meaningful youth engagement in the appropriate procedures and the various stages necessary to put the Kampala Declaration into action, IOM and US PRM brought together over 70 young persons from 36 African countries, who are interested in Human Mobility and Climate Change, for a youth engagement forum in Nairobi in August 2023. The goal was to improve their knowledge and understanding of the connection between migration, the environment, and climate change. During the event, the youth representatives planned, agreed upon and coordinated the development and implementation of the Kampala Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change beyond the East and Horn of Africa region.
The attendees took part in activities like a simulation exercise, a rapporteur system, group works and a plenary session. They worked together to restructure the key messages to reflect areas of concern, good practices and youth commitments in addressing climate-induced human mobility at a continental level. Selected regional youth representatives from the forum remained in Nairobi to attend the high-level technical conference of states. They made sure that the important messages and experiences of young people were heard and included in the expanded declaration.