oversight

Climate Change: Activities of Selected Agencies to Address Potential Impact on Global Migration

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2019-01-17.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

               United States Government Accountability Office
               Report to Congressional Requesters




               CLIMATE CHANGE
January 2019




               Activities of Selected
               Agencies to Address
               Potential Impact on
               Global Migration




GAO-19-166
                                              January 2019

                                              CLIMATE CHANGE
                                              Activities of Selected Agencies to Address Potential
                                              Impact on Global Migration
Highlights of GAO-19-166, a report to
congressional requesters




Why GAO Did This Study                        What GAO Found
The effects of climate change,                From fiscal years 2014 through 2018, a variety of executive branch actions
combined with other factors, may alter        related to climate change—such as executive orders and strategies—affected
human migration trends across the             the Department of State (State), the U.S. Agency for International Development
globe, according to the International         (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DOD), including their activities that
Organization for Migration. For               could potentially address the nexus of climate change and migration. For
example, climate change can increase          example, a fiscal year 2016 presidential memorandum—rescinded in 2017—
the frequency and intensity of natural        required agencies to develop implementation plans to identify the potential
disasters, causing populations to move        impact of climate change on human mobility, among other things. In general,
from an area. Climate change can also
                                              however, climate change as a driver of migration was not a focus of the
intensify slow-onset disasters, such as
                                              executive branch actions. For example, a fiscal year 2014 executive order—also
drought, crop failure, or sea level rise,
potentially altering longer-term
                                              rescinded in 2017—requiring agencies to prepare for the impacts of climate
migration trends.                             change did not highlight migration as a particular concern.

GAO was asked to review how U.S.              State, USAID, and DOD have discussed the potential effects of climate change
agencies address climate change as a          on migration in agency plans and risk assessments. For example, State and
potential driver of global migration. For     USAID required climate change risk assessments when developing country and
State, USAID, and DOD, this report (1)        regional strategies, and a few of the strategies reviewed by GAO identified the
describes executive branch actions            nexus of climate change and migration as a risk. However, State changed its
related to climate change and                 approach in 2017, no longer providing missions with guidance on whether and
migration from fiscal years 2014              how to include climate change risks in their integrated country strategies. In
through 2018; (2) examines the extent         doing so, State did not include in its 2018 guidance to the missions any
to which the agencies discussed the           information on how to include climate change risks, should the missions choose
potential effects of climate change on        to do so. Without clear guidance, State may miss opportunities to identify and
migration in their plans and risk             address issues related to climate change as a potential driver of migration.
assessments; and (3) describes
agency activities on the issue. GAO           The three agencies have been involved in climate change related activities but
analyzed documents on administration          none were specifically focused on the nexus with global migration. For example,
priorities; reviewed agency plans, risk       USAID officials said that the agency’s adaptation efforts, such as its Pastoralist
assessments, and documentation of             Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion project in Ethiopia,
agency activities; and interviewed            were the most likely to include activities, such as enhancing resilience, that can
agency officials.                             indirectly address the issue of climate change as a driver of migration.
What GAO Recommends                           A U.S. Agency for International Development Project in Ethiopia Includes Activities to
                                              Enhance Resilience That Can Indirectly Address Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
GAO recommends that State provide
missions with guidance that clearly
documents its process for climate
change risk assessments for country
strategies. In commenting on a draft of
this report, State indicated that it would
update its integrated country strategy
guidance and will specifically note that
missions have the option to provide
additional information on climate
resilience and related topics.

View GAO-19-166. For more information,
contact David Gootnick at (202) 512-3149 or
gootnickd@gao.gov, or Brian J. Lepore at
(202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov.
                                                                                          United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                             1
                       Background                                                                  3
                       Executive Branch Actions Related to Climate Change and
                         Migration from Fiscal Years 2014 through 2018                             8
                       State, USAID, and DOD Have Discussed the Potential Effects of
                         Climate Change on Global Migration, but State Does Not
                         Provide Clear Risk Assessment Guidance                                   13
                       State, USAID, and DOD Have Been Involved in Various Climate
                         Change Related Activities, but None Were Focused Specifically
                         on Migration, and Their Participation Has Declined                       19
                       Conclusions                                                                29
                       Recommendation for Executive Action                                        29
                       Agency Comments                                                            29

Appendix I             Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                         32



Appendix II            Regional Focus on Climate Change as a Driver of Global Migration           36



Appendix III           Department of State Global Climate Change Initiative Adaptation
                       Activities Funded in Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017                        53



Appendix IV            Comments from the Department of State                                      56



Appendix V             Comments from the U.S. Agency for International Development                58



Appendix VI            GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                      62



Related GAO Products                                                                              63




                       Page i                           GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Tables
          Table 1: Department of State (State) Participation in Multilateral
                  Activities Related to Climate Change and Migration                  20
          Table 2: Department of State Global Climate Change Initiative
                  Adaptation Activities Funded in Fiscal Years 2014 through
                  2017                                                                53

Figures
          Figure 1: Climate Change as a Potential Influence on Other
                   Factors that Drive Migration                                        5
          Figure 2: Timeline of Recent Executive Actions Related to Climate
                   Change                                                              9
          Figure 3: Ethiopia Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement
                   through Market Expansion Activity is Relevant to the
                   Issue of Climate Change as a Driver of Migration                   25
          Figure 4: USAID Aerial View of Hurricane Matthew Damage in
                   Haiti, October 2016, Which Temporarily Displaced
                   People                                                             26




          Page ii                           GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Abbreviations

ACP                        African, Caribbean, and Pacific States
ADB                        Asian Development Bank
CRS                        Congressional Research Service
DHS                        Department of Homeland Security
DOD                        Department of Defense
GDP                        Gross Domestic Product
IOM                        International Organization for Migration
IPCC                       Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
LDCF                       Least Developed Countries Fund
PIER                       Private Investment for Enhanced Resilience
State                      Department of State
State/OES                  State’s Bureau of Oceans and International
                           Environmental and Scientific Affairs
State/PRM                  State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and
                           Migration
TPS                        Temporary Protected Status
UN                         United Nations
UNEP                       United Nations Environment Programme
UNHCR                      United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
USAID                      U.S. Agency for International Development
USAID/FFP                  USAID’s Office of Food for Peace
USAID/OFDA                 USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
USIP                       United States Institute of Peace




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Page iii                                  GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                       Letter




441 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20548




                       January 17, 2019

                       Congressional Requesters

                       Around the world, climate change is predicted to affect precipitation
                       levels, increase temperatures, and contribute to more frequent natural
                       disasters like flooding and drought, among other effects, according to the
                       Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 1 At the same time,
                       recent trends suggest that the number of global migrants will continue to
                       increase, 2 according to the International Organization for Migration
                       (IOM). 3 While many factors, including lack of economic opportunity and
                       political instability, influence the decision to migrate, these international
                       organizations predict that climate change will further increase global
                       human migration, but they do not know to what extent. Nonetheless, the
                       potential link between climate change and migration has raised both
                       humanitarian and national security concerns for the U.S. government.

                       As a result of the risks that climate change poses to environmental and
                       economic systems, 4 in February 2013 we placed Limiting the Federal
                       Government’s Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change
                       Risks on our High Risk List. 5 As we reported in February 2017, for
                       example, from fiscal years 2005 through 2014, the federal government
                       obligated at least $277.6 billion across 17 federal departments and
                       agencies for disaster assistance programs and activities. 6 Extreme
                       1
                        Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report
                       (Geneva, Switzerland: 2014).
                       2
                        In this report we use “migration” to refer to global, human migration. In keeping with the
                       International Organization for Migration (IOM), we define migration as including both the
                       movement of people within a country, and across international borders, either temporarily
                       or permanently.
                       3
                        International Organization for Migration, World Migration Report 2018 (Geneva,
                       Switzerland: 2017).
                       4
                        GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-15-290 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 11, 2015).
                       GAO’s high-risk program identifies government operations with greater vulnerabilities to
                       fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address
                       economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.
                       5
                        GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-13-283 (Washington, D.C.: February 2013).
                       See also GAO, High-Risk Series: Progress on Many High-Risk Areas, While Substantial
                       Efforts Needed on Others, GAO-17-317 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 15, 2017).
                       6
                       GAO-17-317.




                       Page 1                                    GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
weather events—such as floods, drought, and hurricanes—are expected
to increase or worsen because of climate change, according to the U.S.
Global Change Research Program. 7 In February 2017, we reported that
the federal government needs a cohesive strategic approach with strong
leadership and the authority to manage climate change risks that
encompasses the entire range of related federal activities and addresses
all key elements of strategic planning. 8

You asked us to review issues related to human migration due to climate
change. In this report, we (1) describe executive branch actions related to
climate change and migration from fiscal years 2014 through 2018; (2)
examine the extent to which the Department of State (State), the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of
Defense (DOD) have discussed the potential effects of climate change on
migration in their plans and risk assessments; and (3) describe State,
USAID, and DOD activities, if any, that are related to climate change and
global migration.

To describe executive branch actions related to climate change and
migration from fiscal years 2014 through 2018, we reviewed key
documents related to climate change that were developed during this time
period. These documents included executive orders, budget requests,
and strategies. We chose fiscal years 2014 through 2018 as our time
frame based on our review of recent executive orders related to climate
change. To examine State, USAID, and DOD discussions of the potential
effects of climate change on migration in their plans and risk
assessments, we reviewed relevant documents completed since fiscal
year 2014. These documents included agency adaptation plans and
country and regional strategies. We selected State, USAID, and DOD
because the agencies’ missions of diplomacy, development, and defense
provide the foundation for promoting and protecting U.S. interests




7
 Jay, A., D.R. Reidmiller, C.W. Avery, D. Barrie, B.J. DeAngelo, A. Dave, M. Dzaugis, M.
Kolian, K.L.M. Lewis, K. Reeves, and D. Winner, 2018: Overview. In Impacts, Risks, and
Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II
[Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock,
and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA.
8
GAO-17-317.




Page 2                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                       abroad. 9 To describe State, USAID, and DOD activities that are related to
                       climate change and global migration, we identified and examined agency
                       activities potentially related to the issue. For example, we analyzed State
                       and USAID data such as project descriptions for activities that received
                       adaptation funding from the Global Climate Change Initiative. We
                       determined that the USAID and State adaptation project data were
                       sufficiently reliable for the purposes of describing their efforts. For all
                       three objectives we interviewed officials from State, USAID, and DOD.
                       Further details on our scope and methodology can be found in appendix I.

                       We conducted this performance audit from October 2017 to January 2019
                       in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
                       Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
                       sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
                       findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
                       the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
                       conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Background
Potential Impacts of   According to international and U.S. government sources, climate change
Climate Change on      poses serious risks to many of the physical and ecological systems upon
Migration              which society depends, although the exact details of these impacts are
                       uncertain. 10 Climate change may intensify slow-onset disasters, such as
                       drought, crop failure, and sea level rise. Climate change is also increasing

                       9
                        We also reviewed documents and met with officials from the Departments of Homeland
                       Security and Treasury, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S.
                       Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. We
                       did not include these agencies in our review because they did not have assessments or
                       activities related to climate change as a driver of global migration during the time frame of
                       our review.
                       10
                         Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report
                       (Geneva, Switzerland: 2014); International Organization for Migration, The Atlas of
                       Environmental Migration (New York: Routledge, 2017); Kumari Rigaud, Kanta, Alex de
                       Sherbinin, Bryan Jones, Jonas Bergmann, Viviane Clement, Kayly Ober, Jacob Schewe,
                       Susana Adamo, Brent McCusker, Silke Heuser, and Amelia Midgley. 2018. Groundswell:
                       Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. Washington, DC: The World Bank; U.S.
                       Department of Defense, National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a
                       Changing Climate, 8-6475571 (July 2015); and U.S. Agency for International
                       Development, Climate Change and Conflict in Africa and Latin America: Findings and
                       Preliminary lessons from Uganda, Ethiopia, and Peru (2013).




                       Page 3                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including sudden-
onset disasters, such as floods, according to key scientific
assessments. 11 These effects of climate change may alter existing
migration trends across the globe, according to IOM. (See appendix II for
further discussion of climate change as a driver of migration in seven
geographic regions.) For example, sea level rise, a slow-onset disaster,
may result in the salinization of soil and drinking water, thereby
undermining a country or community’s ability to sustain livelihoods and
maintain critical services, which could cause some people to migrate.
Sudden-onset disasters may also contribute to migration as people flee
natural disasters, in most cases leading to temporary displacement. For
example, people may either voluntarily migrate, or be forced to migrate, to
earn money needed to rebuild damaged homes after flooding, especially
as extreme weather events increase in intensity and number. If unable or
unwilling to migrate, people may find themselves trapped or choosing to
stay in deteriorating conditions. Sources agree that the effects of climate
change generally impact internal migration, while migration across
international borders due to climate change is less common. 12

In deciding whether to migrate, people weigh multiple factors including
economic and political factors, social or personal motives, or
demographic pressures. The effects of climate change add another layer
of complexity to this decision, but there is debate about the role climate
change plays in migration. Figure 1 depicts how climate change may
influence other factors that drive the decision to migrate or stay.

11
  Jerry M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, eds., Climate Change
Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, (Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Global Change Research Program, May 2014) and Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part
A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment
Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J.
Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, 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, 1132 pp.
12
  Schuyler Null and Lauren Herzer Risi, Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, USAID Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation Discussion Paper,
Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World (November
2016); Kumari Rigaud, Kanta, Alex de Sherbinin, Bryan Jones, Jonas Bergmann, Viviane
Clement, Kayly Ober, Jacob Schewe, Susana Adamo, Brent McCusker, Silke Heuser, and
Amelia Midgley. 2018. Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. Washington,
DC: The World Bank; The United Kingdom Government Office for Science, Foresight:
Migration and Global Environmental Change: Final Project Report (2011).




Page 4                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Figure 1: Climate Change as a Potential Influence on Other Factors that Drive
Migration




Note: Additional factors may influence migration. These include the cost of moving, social networks,
and diasporic links, among others. Further, personal or household characteristics, such as age,
religion, or education, may make migration more or less likely.


There are limitations to reliably estimating the number of people displaced
by climate change because there are no reliable global estimates for
those migrating due to slow-onset disasters, and estimates for those
migrating due to sudden-onset disasters are based on limited data,
according to IOM. The lack of reliable data is due in part to the multi-
causal nature of migration. Further, IOM notes that forecasts for the
number of environmental migrants by 2050 vary from 25 million to 1
billion. 13 They and others have questioned the methodologies used to
arrive at even these broad estimates.




13
  International Organization for Migration, IOM Outlook on Migration, Environment and
Climate Change (Geneva, 2014).




Page 5                                         GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Climate Change Impacts     Migration, potentially driven by climate change, may contribute to
on Migration that May      instability and result in national security challenges, according to some
Affect National Security   international organizations and national governments. 14 For example, an
                           influx of migrants to a city may put pressure on existing resources,
                           resulting in tensions between new migrants and residents, or between the
                           population and its government. The U.S. Global Change Research
                           Program has also stated that migration, such as displacement resulting
                           from extreme weather events, is a potential national security issue. 15 At
                           different times, the United Nations General Assembly and, in 2014, DOD
                           have deemed climate change to be a threat multiplier, as the effects of
                           climate change could increase competition for resources, reduce
                           government capacity, and threaten livelihoods, thereby causing instability
                           and migration. 16 Further, the U.S. intelligence community considers
                           climate change to increase the risks of humanitarian disasters, conflict,
                           and migration. 17

                           Identifying the cause of a conflict, however, is complicated, and experts
                           debate the connections linking climate, migration, and national security.
                           For example, IOM has reported that existing evidence on climate
                           migration and instability must be considered with caution. 18 Further, some
                           studies stress that other factors can mitigate the effects of climate change


                           14
                             UN General Assembly, Climate Change and Its Possible Security Implication: Report to
                           the Secretary General (2009); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate
                           Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (Cambridge, United Kingdom:
                           Cambridge University Press, 2017); The United Kingdom Government Office for Science,
                           Foresight: Migration and Global Environmental Change: Final Project Report (2011); Guy
                           S. Goodwin-Gill and Jane McAdam, Climate Change, Disasters, and Displacement
                           (UNHCR–The UN Refugee Agency, 2017).
                           15
                              Smith, J.B., M. Muth, A. Alpert, J.L. Buizer, J. Cook, A. Dave, J. Furlow, K. Preston, P.
                           Schultz, and L. Vaughan, 2018: Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests. In Impacts,
                           Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume
                           II [Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock,
                           and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA.
                           16
                             UN General Assembly, Climate Change and Its Possible Security Implication: Report to
                           the Secretary General (2009); and United States Department of Defense, 2014
                           Quadrennial Defense Review (Washington, D.C.: 2014).
                           17
                            United States Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Worldwide Threat
                           Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community (February, 2018).
                           18
                            International Organization for Migration, The Atlas of Environmental Migration (New
                           York: Routledge, 2017).




                           Page 6                                    GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                           on migration and stability, including governance and community
                           resilience, as the World Bank has reported. 19


U.S. Government Agency     State, USAID, and DOD are among the U.S. government agencies with a
Roles Related to Climate   role in responding to issues related to climate change, including as a
Change                     driver of migration.

                           •    State interacts with foreign governments and international
                                organizations focused on climate change and migration primarily
                                through the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and
                                Scientific Affairs (State/OES) and the Bureau of Population,
                                Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM).
                           •    USAID supports a range of development programs that help to
                                mitigate the effects of climate change through the Bureaus for
                                Economic Growth, Education and Environment; Democracy, Conflict
                                and Humanitarian Assistance; Food Security; Asia; and Africa; and
                                individual USAID missions. 20 Additionally, USAID’s Offices of U.S.
                                Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and Food for Peace
                                (USAID/FFP) lead and coordinate the U.S. government’s emergency
                                responses to sudden- and slow-onset disasters, and complex
                                emergencies overseas. 21
                           •    DOD assists in the United States’ humanitarian response to sudden-
                                onset disasters abroad through its six geographic combatant
                                commands, 22 with support from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
                           19
                             Kumari Rigaud, Kanta, Alex de Sherbinin, Bryan Jones, Jonas Bergmann, Viviane
                           Clement, Kayly Ober, Jacob Schewe, Susana Adamo, Brent McCusker, Silke Heuser, and
                           Amelia Midgley. 2018. Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. Washington,
                           DC: The World Bank.
                           20
                             USAID officials said that, pending congressional approval, the technical leadership of
                           USAID’s climate adaptation work will move to the proposed Bureau for Resilience and
                           Food Security as part of the Center for Resilience, and other climate technical leadership
                           functions will move to the proposed Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation.
                           21
                             USAID/OFDA is the lead federal coordinator for international disaster assistance.
                           USAID/FFP is the U.S. government lead in providing emergency global food assistance.
                           USAID said that, pending congressional approval, it intends to merge and restructure
                           OFDA and Food for Peace to form the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance in order to
                           consolidate its response to natural disasters, famines, and man-made crises.
                           22
                             To perform its variety of missions around the world, DOD operates six geographic
                           combatant commands which manage all military operations in designated areas of
                           responsibility: U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command,
                           U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and U.S. Southern Command.




                           Page 7                                    GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                             Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and the Joint Staff’s
                             Office of Humanitarian Engagement. 23

                        Climate change as a driver of migration was not a focus of the policy
Executive Branch        documents we reviewed for either the current or previous administrations
Actions Related to      during fiscal years 2014 through 2018. Our review of executive actions,
                        budget requests, and executive branch strategies that affected State,
Climate Change and      USAID, and DOD found only brief mentions of climate change as a driver
Migration from Fiscal   of migration. None of the documents we reviewed reflected a priority for
                        assessing or addressing climate change as a driver of migration, although
Years 2014 through      these documents reflect a shift in administrations’ climate change
2018                    priorities more generally.


Executive Actions       The previous administration issued two executive orders and a
                        presidential memorandum related to climate change. These executive
                        actions had a policy of improving climate preparedness and resilience,
                        factoring climate-resilience considerations into agencies’ international
                        development decisions, and creating forums for interagency coordination.
                        In March 2017, the current administration issued a subsequent executive
                        order revoking some of the previous executive actions related to climate
                        change. See figure 2 for a timeline of these executive actions.




                        23
                          The Joint Staff is responsible for assisting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the
                        military advisor to the President, in accomplishing his responsibilities for the unified
                        strategic direction of the combatant forces; their operation under unified command; and
                        their integration into a team of land, naval, and air forces. The Joint Staff is tasked to
                        provide advice and support to the Chairman and the Joint Chiefs on matters including
                        personnel, intelligence doctrine and architecture, operations and plans, logistics, strategy,
                        policy, communications, cyberspace, joint training and education, and program evaluation.




                        Page 8                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Figure 2: Timeline of Recent Executive Actions Related to Climate Change




                                        Note: The descriptions listed are examples of climate change-related requirements and are not the
                                        only requirements contained in these actions.


                                        The previous administration issued three executive actions related to
                                        climate change, which included requirements focused on agencies’
                                        considerations of the impacts of climate change and established forums
                                        for interagency coordination. The current administration issued an
                                        executive action related to energy independence and climate change.

                                        •    Executive Order 13653: Preparing the United States for the
                                             Impacts of Climate Change. Executive Order 13653 stated that
                                             agencies—including State, USAID, and DOD—shall, among other
                                             things, develop, implement, and update comprehensive Agency
                                             Adaptation Plans that integrate consideration of climate change into
                                             agency operations and overall mission objectives. 24 Executive Order
                                             13653 also established the Council on Climate Preparedness and
                                             Resilience.
                                        •    Executive Order 13677: Climate-Resilient International
                                             Development. Executive Order 13677 requires State, USAID, and
                                             other U.S. government agencies with direct international development
                                        24
                                          Exec. Order No. 13,653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change,
                                        78 Fed. Reg. 66,819 (Nov. 1, 2013).




                                        Page 9                                        GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                  programs and investments to incorporate climate-resilience
                                  considerations into decision making by assessing climate-related risks
                                  to agency strategies, and to adjust relevant strategies as appropriate,
                                  among other things. 25 Executive Order 13677 also established the
                                  Working Group on Climate-Resilient International Development as
                                  part of the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
                            •     2016 Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National
                                  Security. The 2016 presidential memorandum required, among other
                                  things, that agencies, including State, USAID, and DOD, develop an
                                  agency-specific approach to address climate-related threats to
                                  national security. It also required agencies to develop implementation
                                  plans that would describe how they would identify the potential impact
                                  of climate change on human mobility, including migration and
                                  displacement, and the resulting impacts on national security, among
                                  other requirements, and stated that the effects of climate change can
                                  lead to population migration within and across international borders,
                                  spur crises, and amplify or accelerate conflict in countries or regions
                                  already facing instability. 26 The 2016 memorandum also established
                                  the Climate and National Security Working Group.
                            •     Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and
                                  Economic Growth. Executive Order 13783 revoked Executive Order
                                  13653 and the 2016 presidential memorandum, among other things,
                                  as seen in figure 2. 27

Presidential Budget         Priorities related to climate change shifted between the past two
Requests for Fiscal Years   administrations as reflected in a recent budget request that reduced some
2017 and 2018               climate change funding affecting U.S. foreign assistance.

                            •     2017 Presidential Budget Request. The previous administration
                                  stated in its fiscal year 2017 budget request that “the challenge of
                                  climate change will define the contours of this century more
                                  dramatically than any other” and that “it is imperative for the United
                                  States to couple action on climate change at home with leadership

                            25
                              Exec. Order No. 13,677, Climate-Resilient International Development, 79 Fed. Reg.
                            58,231 (Sept. 23, 2014). The executive order did not identify DOD as an agency with
                            direct international development programs and investments.
                            26
                                Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security (Sept. 21, 2016).
                            27
                             Exec. Order No. 13,783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, 82
                            Fed. Reg. 16,093 (Mar. 28, 2017).




                            Page 10                                  GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
     internationally.” 28 The fiscal year 2017 budget request sought $1.3
     billion in discretionary funding to advance the goals of the Global
     Climate Change Initiative, which was established in 2010 and aimed
     to promote resilient, low-emission development, and integrate climate
     change considerations into U.S. foreign assistance. 29 The $1.3 billion
     in requested funding included $750 million in U.S. funding for the
     Green Climate Fund, a multilateral trust fund designed to foster
     resilient low-emission development in developing countries. 30
•    2018 Presidential Budget Request. The current administration, in its
     fiscal year 2018 budget request, did not include any funding for the
     Global Climate Change Initiative. 31 In addition, the current
     administration’s budget request stated that it “Eliminate[d] the Global
     Climate Change Initiative and fulfill[ed] the President’s pledge to




28
  Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2017
(Feb. 9, 2016).
29
  The Global Climate Change Initiative was divided into three main programmatic
initiatives: (1) Adaptation assistance, (2) Clean Energy assistance, and (3) Sustainable
Landscapes assistance. The Global Climate Change Initiative has been funded through
programs at the Departments of State and Treasury, and USAID. Funds for these
programs have been requested in the President’s budget under the International Affairs
Function 150 account for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, according to
the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Many Global Climate Change Initiative
activities have been funded at agency sub-account levels, with allocations left to the
discretion of the agencies, under congressional consultation, reported CRS. Recent
budget authority for the Global Climate Change Initiative, according to CRS, was
approximately $945 million in fiscal year 2010, $819 million in fiscal year 2011, $858
million in fiscal year 2012, $841 million in fiscal year 2013, $834 million in fiscal year 2014,
and $824 million in fiscal year 2015. Department of Treasury officials told us that they
have not done any specific work—assessments, policy papers, or programming—on
migration due to climate change; thus we did not include Treasury in our review.
30
  The United States made a multi-year pledge of $3 billion to the initial resource
mobilization of the Green Climate Fund; the first U.S. contribution of $500 million to the
Green Climate Fund was requested in the President’s fiscal year 2016 budget request.
31
  Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government: A New Foundation
for American Greatness, Fiscal Year 2018 (May 23, 2017).




Page 11                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                               cease payments to United Nations’ (UN) climate change programs by
                               eliminating U.S. funding related to the Green Climate Fund. . .” 32

Strategy Documents        Some strategies from the current and previous administrations that affect
Affecting State, USAID,   State, USAID, and DOD, among other agencies, reflect a shift in priorities
and DOD                   related to climate change. For example, the previous administration cited
                          climate change as a “top strategic risk” in its 2015 National Security
                          Strategy and stated that climate change is an urgent and growing threat
                          to U.S. national security, contributing to increased natural disasters,
                          refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. 33
                          The current administration does not discuss climate change in its 2017
                          National Security Strategy. 34 Additionally, State and USAID have a Joint
                          Strategic Plan to help the agencies achieve the objectives of the National
                          Security Strategy. The previous State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan
                          included a strategic goal on “promoting the transition to a low-emission,
                          climate-resilient world” that proposed leading international actions to
                          combat climate change. 35 The current State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan
                          does not have a climate change goal. 36




                          32
                            Office of Management and Budget, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America
                          Great Again (March 16, 2017). While the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, did not
                          include funding for the Green Climate Fund, it did provide no less than $123.5 million for
                          Sustainable Landscapes programs, one of the initiatives previously under the Global
                          Climate Change Initiative. See Pub. L. No. 115-141 (Mar. 23, 2018). In addition, according
                          to State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, State is no longer providing funding
                          for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Intergovernmental
                          Panel on Climate Change.
                          33
                           The White House, National Security Strategy (February 2015).
                          34
                           The White House, National Security Strategy (December 2017).
                          35
                           State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan FY 2014-2017 (March 2014).
                          36
                           State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022 (February 2018).




                          Page 12                                    GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                             State, USAID, and DOD were required by executive orders to assess
State, USAID, and            climate change-related risks to their missions and, for State and USAID,
DOD Have Discussed           to their strategies, among other things. In response to Executive Order
                             13653, which has since been revoked, the agencies completed
the Potential Effects        adaptation plans that integrated considerations of climate change into
of Climate Change on         agency operations and overall mission objectives. In response to
                             Executive Order 13677, which has not been revoked, State and USAID
Global Migration, but        developed processes for climate change risk assessments for their
State Does Not               country and regional planning documents. 37 Although these executive
                             orders did not require a specific assessment of climate change as a driver
Provide Clear Risk           of migration, all three agencies have discussed the effects of climate
Assessment                   change on migration in their adaptation plans and risk assessments.
                             However, State lacks clear guidance on its process for assessing climate
Guidance                     change-related risks to its integrated country strategies.


Agencies Discussed the       State, USAID, and DOD each completed adaptation plans in 2014 that
Effects of Climate Change    included limited discussions of migration as one potential effect of climate
on Migration in Their 2014   change. Executive Order 13653 directed the agencies to develop or
                             continue to develop, implement, and update comprehensive Agency
Adaptation Plans             Adaptation Plans that integrate consideration of climate change into
                             agency operations and overall mission objectives. Each adaptation plan
                             was to include, among other things, a description of how the agency
                             would consider the need to improve climate adaptation and resilience.

                             •    State. In its 2014 adaptation plan, State included a brief discussion of
                                  climate change as one of multiple factors that potentially will drive
                                  migration and impact its mission. State reported that the specific
                                  impacts of climate change on the ability of the department to promote
                                  peace and stability in regions of vital interest to the United States
                                  were unknown. For example, according to the plan, an increase in
                                  heavy precipitation events around the world could damage the electric
                                  grid and transportation and energy water infrastructure, upon which
                                  State depends, making it difficult to maintain operations and
                                  diplomatic relations. In its plan, State reported that climate change

                             37
                               Exec. Order No. 13,677, Climate-Resilient International Development, 79 Fed. Reg.
                             58,231 (Sept. 23, 2014). Executive Order 13677 required State, USAID, and other U.S.
                             government agencies with direct international development programs and investments to
                             incorporate climate-resilience considerations into decision-making by assessing climate-
                             related risks to and vulnerabilities in existing strategies, and adjusting relevant strategies,
                             as appropriate. The executive order did not list DOD as a relevant agency.




                             Page 13                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
      impacts may threaten international peace, civil stability, and economic
      growth through aggravating existing problems related to poverty and
      environmental degradation. Further, environmental and poverty-
      related issues and regional instability could stress relationships with
      some foreign governments. However, the plan noted that specific
      impacts of climate change on conflict, migration, terrorism, and
      complex disasters were still unknown.
•     USAID. In its 2014 adaptation plan, USAID included a brief discussion
      of migration as one potential effect of climate change that could also
      impact security. 38 USAID stated that the impact of climate change on
      its programs and operations, if left unaddressed, could compromise
      the agency’s ability to achieve its mission. Further, USAID’s plan
      referred to increased migration as a potential risk of climate change.
      Flooding and other extreme climate events can result in increased
      migration, among other impacts, that could affect existing and planned
      USAID programming. In particular, programs in areas like agriculture
      and food security, global health, water and sanitation, infrastructure,
      and disaster readiness and humanitarian response are vulnerable to
      climate change, according to USAID. In the infrastructure area,
      climate change may necessitate new protective measures for coastal
      homes and infrastructure, and in some cases even mass evacuations
      or permanent migration. USAID stated that climate change could
      further reduce or alter the distribution of already limited resources like
      food and water, or force temporary or permanent migration of
      communities. According to the plan, in areas with high risk factors for
      conflict, climate change stresses can aggravate tensions and
      contribute to conflict.
•     DOD. In its 2014 adaptation roadmap, DOD included a brief
      discussion of migration as one of multiple potential effects of climate
      change that could impact national security. DOD referred to climate
      change as a threat multiplier that can aggravate other risks around the
      world, with migration being one effect that could increase requests for
      DOD to provide assistance. 39 The roadmap stated that as climate
      change affects the availability of food and water, human migration,
      and competition for natural resources, the department’s unique

38
    USAID rescinded its June 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Plan on May 11, 2017.
39
  DOD developed the 2014 Roadmap to fulfill requirements of a Climate Change
Adaptation Plan found in Executive Orders 13514 on Federal Leadership in
Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance and 13653 on Preparing the U.S. for
the Impacts of Climate Change.




Page 14                                  GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                               capability to provide logistical, material, and security assistance on a
                               massive scale or in rapid fashion may be called upon with increasing
                               frequency. Furthermore, DOD stated that the impacts of climate
                               change may cause instability in other countries by, among other
                               things, impairing access to food and water, damaging infrastructure,
                               uprooting and displacing large numbers of people, and compelling
                               mass migration. These developments, according to the department,
                               could undermine already fragile governments that are unable to
                               respond effectively, or challenge currently stable governments, as well
                               as increase competition and tension between countries vying for
                               limited resources.

Few of the State and      In response to Executive Order 13677, State and USAID developed
USAID Risk Assessments    processes for climate change risk assessments for their country and
We Reviewed Identified    regional planning documents. 40 Though these assessments are not
                          specific to migration, a few of the assessments identified the nexus of
the Nexus of Climate      climate change and migration.
Change and Migration as
a Risk                    •    State. State required climate change risk assessments for all new
                               integrated country strategies drafted in 2016 or later. 41 We reviewed
                               10 integrated country strategies from the two regions that were the
                               first to implement the climate change risk assessment requirement—
                               Africa, and East Asia and the Pacific. All 10 of the strategies included
                               climate change risk assessments, one of which—Cambodia—



                          40
                            Exec. Order No. 13,677, Climate-Resilient International Development, 79 Fed. Reg.
                          58,231 (Sept. 23, 2014). Executive Order 13677 required State, USAID, and other U.S.
                          government agencies with direct international development programs and investments to
                          incorporate climate-resilience considerations into decision-making by assessing climate-
                          related risks to and vulnerabilities in existing strategies, and adjusting relevant strategies,
                          as appropriate. The executive order did not list DOD as a relevant agency.
                          41
                            State’s 2016 integrated country strategy guidance stated that all missions should
                          perform a climate change risk assessment, and if one or more goals and objectives are
                          determined medium-high risk, missions must document the climate-risk screening process
                          in an annex. Those only identifying low risks may include a summary statement explaining
                          how the mission came to this determination. An integrated country strategy is a multi-year
                          plan that articulates the U.S. government’s priorities in a given country. The integrated
                          country strategy sets mission goals and objectives through a coordinated and
                          collaborative planning effort among State, USAID, and other U.S. government agencies
                          with programming in country. The primary audiences for the integrated country strategy
                          are the mission, bureaus, and interagency partners. As of February 2018, missions will
                          complete an integrated country strategy every 4 years. Current integrated country
                          strategies were updated in February 2018 through 2022.




                          Page 15                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
     identified migration as a risk for the country. 42 The Cambodia strategy
     states that internal migration due to climate change hinders access to
     health care and the prevention of infectious diseases like malaria. We
     also reviewed 10 strategies from State’s functional and regional
     bureaus for assessments of climate-related risks, including 3
     functional bureau strategies (State/PRM, State/OES, and State’s
     Bureau of International Organization Affairs) and 7 regional bureau
     strategies. All of the functional bureau strategies we reviewed
     identified climate change as a risk and State/PRM cited the impact of
     climate change on migration. Of the regional bureau strategies we
     reviewed, we found that one, the Bureau for East Asian and Pacific
     Affairs, identified climate change as a driver of migration as a
     challenge or risk in its region. For example, the strategy states that
     climate change is becoming increasingly disruptive, potentially
     increasing migration due to rising sea levels. None of the other six
     regional bureau strategies we reviewed identified the nexus of climate
     change and migration as a risk or challenge. However, five regional
     bureaus identified climate change as a risk or challenge and one
     identified migration as a risk or challenge.
•    USAID. USAID also requires the integration of climate risk
     management into all country or regional development cooperation
     strategies drafted since October 1, 2015. 43 Missions must document
     in a climate change appendix to the strategy any climate risks they
     identified and how they considered climate change in their strategy.
     As of August 2018, USAID had completed five country or regional
     development cooperation strategy updates initiated since October 1,
     2015—Uganda, Tunisia, East Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe—and



42
  We selected 10 strategies out of 69 for review by using the following two criteria: (1)
they were located in either State’s Africa or East Asia and the Pacific bureaus, which were
the first two bureaus to implement climate risk screenings; and (2) they were identified by
USAID and DOD as climate change priorities or experiencing displacement due to natural
disasters. The 10 strategies selected were Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali,
Philippines, Senegal, Timor-Leste, Uganda, and Vietnam.
43
  According to USAID, climate risk management is the process of assessing, addressing,
and adaptively managing climate risks. Climate risk management is required as part of the
development of all new country or regional USAID strategies. Country Development
Cooperation Strategies or Regional Development Cooperation Strategies define a
mission’s goal and objectives for an agreed-upon period of time, based on a given level of
resources, and support State-USAID Joint Regional Strategies, Integrated Country
Strategies, and the State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan. USAID’s strategies are developed
on a rolling basis, and generally span 5 years.




Page 16                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                               all five included the required appendix. 44 Of the five updated
                               strategies, three—Uganda, Tunisia, and East Africa—discuss the
                               indirect effect of climate change on migration, among other issues.
                               For example, Uganda’s 2016-2021 country strategy states that
                               increased frequency and duration of droughts is likely to be the most
                               significant climate‐related change in Uganda. The strategy also notes
                               that droughts have affected, and will continue to affect, water
                               resources, hydroelectricity production, and agriculture, among other
                               sectors. As agriculture, forestry, and fisheries decline in Uganda, the
                               strategy asserts that people will migrate to urban areas, leading to the
                               formation of slums. We also reviewed USAID’s nine regional
                               development cooperation strategies, one of which—East Africa—had
                               been updated since the requirement to include climate risk
                               management. Of the other eight strategies that have yet to be
                               updated, seven identified climate change as a challenge or risk and
                               three identified climate change as a driver of migration as a challenge
                               or risk. For example, the Southern Africa regional development
                               cooperation strategy states that water scarcity, natural disasters, and
                               other climate change related events will most likely increase migration
                               throughout the region. Additionally, the Asia regional development
                               cooperation strategy discusses the risks of climate change in urban
                               areas. In Asia, the number of migrants seeking economic
                               opportunities in urban centers is likely to increase. According to the
                               strategy, migrants are moving into hazard-prone areas located along
                               coastlines, flood plains, and other low-lying areas in many Asian
                               primary and secondary cities—areas that experts predict will
                               experience more frequent and intense storm surges, floods, and
                               coastal erosion as a result of climate change.

State Lacks Clear         The requirement in Executive Order 13677 to assess climate change-
Guidance on its Process   related risks to agency strategies remains unchanged; however, State
for Assessing Climate     now lacks clear guidance on its process for assessing climate change-
                          related risks to its integrated country strategies. 45 Specifically, State’s
Change-Related Risks      2016 guidance for developing integrated country strategies stated that all
                          missions should assess the risk of climate change on their strategies’

                          44
                            There are 63 country and regional strategies. According to USAID officials, all new
                          strategies initiated as of October 1, 2015, include a climate risk screening annex, as
                          required. USAID officials stated that, as of July 2018, eight other missions are working on
                          developing strategies that comply with the climate risk requirements: Afghanistan, El
                          Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, Pakistan, Philippines, and the Ukraine.
                          45
                           Exec. Order No. 13,677, 79 Fed. Reg. 58,231 (Sept. 23, 2014).




                          Page 17                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
goals and objectives 46 and included reference to the climate risk
screening tool—a method that missions could use to assess climate
change risks. 47 State issued new guidance to its missions in 2018, but
this guidance does not include information on the process for assessing
climate change-related risks to agency strategies. According to State
officials, the 2018 guidance for integrated country strategies does not
reference climate change risk assessments because, in September 2017,
State decided that the strategies should not single out climate change
risks in a separate appendix. State officials said this decision resulted, in
part, from the new administration’s shift in priorities on climate change.
Officials also said that this decision reflects a new approach to risk
management by State and that the missions could choose to include
climate change and other potential risks in the general risk discussion
section of their strategies. Officials from State’s Office of U.S. Foreign
Assistance Resources said that it is now up to each mission to decide
whether a strategic objective may have a climate challenge. However,
those missions that choose to include an assessment of climate change
risks are not provided guidance on the process for doing so and there is
no reference to the climate risk screening tool—or to climate change at
all—in the 2018 guidance.

Executive Order 13677 directed State to incorporate climate-resilience
considerations into decision making by assessing climate-related risks to
agency strategies, among other things. Subsequently, a State cable from
September 2016 further explained that State would implement the
executive order’s requirement by screening for climate risks as part of the
process for drafting all new integrated country strategies. Additionally, the
Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government state that
documentation is a necessary part of an effective internal control
system. 48 If management determines that a principle is not relevant,
management must support that determination with documentation that

46
   In 2016, State required missions to perform a climate change risk assessment, and if
they determined that one or more goals and objectives had a medium or high risk from
climate change, the missions had to document this climate risk screening process in an
annex.
47
  State’s screening tool outlines four steps for climate-risk screening. These steps are: (1)
identify priority sectors and regions; (2) assess potential climate change impacts and risks;
(3) adjust the strategy, if needed; and (4) document the climate risk screening process, if
needed.
48
  GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO-14-704G
(Washington, D.C.: September 2014).




Page 18                                    GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                          includes the rationale of how, in the absence of that principle, the
                          associated component could be designed, implemented, and operated
                          effectively.

                          Because State lacks clear guidance on its process for assessing climate
                          change-related risks to its integrated country strategies, it is less likely
                          that the current round of strategies will include the assessment of climate-
                          related risks. It is also possible that those missions that choose to
                          conduct climate change risk assessments will not do so in a consistent
                          manner. Such assessments might identify climate change as a driver of
                          migration, as at least one previous assessment did under the 2016
                          guidance. Thus, without clear guidance, missions may not examine
                          climate change as a risk to their strategic objectives and could miss
                          opportunities to improve the climate resilience of foreign assistance
                          activities.


                          For fiscal years 2014 through 2017, State, USAID, and DOD had some
State, USAID, and         activities that could potentially address climate change as a driver of
DOD Have Been             migration, although none of these activities specifically focused on the
                          issue. For example, USAID has climate change adaptation activities, but
Involved in Various       to date migration has not been a focus of this programming. With the shift
Climate Change            in priorities related to climate change in fiscal year 2017, agencies have
                          reduced some of these activities.
Related Activities, but
None Were Focused
Specifically on
Migration, and Their
Participation Has
Declined
State Activities          State’s offices that are focused on the issues of climate change
                          (State/OES) and migration (State/PRM) have participated in multilateral
                          activities related to climate change as a driver of migration and funded
                          adaptation and other activities related to the issue. State officials said that
                          the agency does not, however, have any activities that specifically
                          address migration due to climate change or environmental factors.

Multilateral Efforts      State has participated in multilateral activities related to climate change
                          and migration. With the shift in priorities related to climate change in fiscal



                          Page 19                             GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                                  year 2017, the United States has disengaged from some of these
                                                                  multilateral activities (see table 1).

Table 1: Department of State (State) Participation in Multilateral Activities Related to Climate Change and Migration

 Multilateral Activity                                      Description of Multilateral Activity and State Participation
 Friends of the Nansen Initiative                           The Friends of the Nansen Initiative was a group of countries and organizations associated
                                                            with the Nansen Initiative. The Nansen Initiative aimed to develop an agenda for protecting
                                                            people displaced across borders by disasters and the effects of climate change. The United
                                                            States joined the group of friends in 2014 to engage on issues related to population
                                                            movements linked to climate change. The United States was not a member of the initiative
                                                            itself.
 Platform on Disaster Displacement                          The Platform on Disaster Displacement succeeded the Friends of the Nansen Initiative in May
                                                            2016. The platform addresses the protection needs of people displaced across borders in the
                                                            context of disasters and climate change. As of September 2018, the United States is not
                                                            participating in the Platform on Disaster Displacement.
 Paris Agreement                                            The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
                                                            In a decision accompanying the Paris Agreement, the parties to the UN Framework
                                                                                           a
                                                            Convention on Climate Change requested that the Executive Committee of the Warsaw
                                                            International Mechanism on Loss and Damage establish a task force on human displacement
                                                            related to the adverse impacts of climate change. In August 2017, the United States formally
                                                                                                                       b
                                                            announced its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
 Warsaw International Mechanism for                         The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage was created to address loss and
 Loss and Damage                                            damage associated with impacts of climate change in vulnerable developing countries. The
                                                            Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage’s Executive Committee guides the
                                                            implementation of the mechanism. The Executive Committee’s Task Force for Displacement
                                                            is developing recommendations for approaches to address displacement related to the
                                                            adverse impacts of climate change. The United States sits on the Warsaw International
                                                            Mechanism for Loss and Damage’s Executive Committee but does not participate in the Task
                                                            Force.
 The UN Framework Convention on   The Cancun Adaptation Framework provides broad guidance to strengthen climate-related
 Climate Change—Cancun Adaptation adaptation, including disaster risk reduction strategies, among other things. The United States
 Framework                        negotiates on issues created by the Cancun Adaptation Framework, including but not limited
                                  to: National Adaptation Plans, Loss and Damage, and the Adaptation Committee.
 The UN Framework Convention on                             The Nairobi Work Program seeks to improve the understanding and assessment of the
 Climate Change—Nairobi Work                                impacts of climate change and strengthen the capacity of countries to make informed
 Program                                                    decisions on practical adaptation actions. The United States participates in Nairobi Work
                                                            Program activities.
 The UN Global Compact for Migration The UN Global Compact for Migration is expected to be the first intergovernmental agreement
                                     to cover all dimensions of international migration, including the humanitarian, developmental,
                                     and human rights aspects. Among other issues, the draft compact promotes initiatives related
                                     to climate change and migration, requests investment in programs that minimize climate
                                     change as a driver of migration, and calls for the strengthening of information on migration
                                     including the adverse effects of climate change. In December 2017, the United States
                                     announced its withdrawal from negotiations for the UN Global Compact for Migration.
Source: GAO analysis of Department of State and multilateral activity information. | GAO-19-166
                                                                  a
                                                                   The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992. Currently, the United
                                                                  States is one of 197 parties to the convention. The convention’s objective is to stabilize greenhouse
                                                                  gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (man-
                                                                  made) interference with the climate system.




                                                                  Page 20                                         GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                  b
                   In June 2017, the President announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris
                  Agreement. Under the agreement, the earliest effective date of withdrawal for the United States is in
                  2020.
Funding Efforts   In addition to State’s participation in the multilateral activities described in
                  table 2, State has provided funding for activities related to climate change
                  and capacity building that address natural disasters. These activities may
                  involve efforts potentially related to migration. For example, according to
                  State:

                  •    State provided about $2 million per year, between fiscal years 2014
                       and 2016, to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 49
                       which analyzed the impacts of climate change on migration in its most
                       recent assessment report. 50
                  •    State/PRM provided about $4 million, between fiscal years 2014
                       through 2018, for IOM’s Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative,
                       which provides guidelines to protect migrants in countries
                       experiencing conflict or natural disasters. IOM provides training to
                       countries on these guidelines. State/PRM officials said that this
                       initiative is not specifically related to climate change and does not
                       focus on specific types of disasters but does mention sudden-onset
                       disasters. Officials also said that IOM tries to promote a climate
                       change perspective in its trainings.
                  •    State/OES provided about $78 million in adaptation funding from the
                       Global Climate Change Initiative to eight projects during fiscal years
                       2014 through 2017. 51 (See appendix III for a description of all eight
                       projects.) State/OES officials said that these projects help countries
                       prepare for the impacts of climate change, potentially reducing the

                  49
                    According to State’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs, as of fiscal year 2017,
                  State is no longer providing funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
                  50
                    Adger, W.N., J.M. Pulhin, J. Barnett, G.D. Dabelko, G.K. Hovelsrud, M. Levy, Ú. Oswald
                  Spring, and C.H. Vogel, Human Security. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation,
                  and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to
                  the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field,
                  C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, 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: 2014).
                  51
                    The Global Climate Change Initiative was established in 2010 to promote resilient, low-
                  emission development, and integrate climate change considerations into U.S. foreign
                  assistance. The initiative was divided into three main programmatic initiatives: (1)
                  Adaptation assistance, (2) Clean Energy assistance, and (3) Sustainable Landscapes
                  assistance.




                  Page 21                                        GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                       pressure to migrate. However, to these officials’ knowledge, none of
                       these projects directly supported activities related to migration. For
                       example, State/OES provided a $4 million grant to the National
                       Adaptation Plans Global Network. This network focuses on increasing
                       the capacity of governments to identify and assess climate risks,
                       integrate these risks in planning, develop a pipeline of projects to
                       address these risks, identify and secure funding for projects, and track
                       progress toward resilience targets. Adaptation activities occurred in
                       over 35 countries.
                   With the shift in priorities related to climate change in fiscal year 2017,
                   State discontinued some of these efforts. For example, funding for the
                   Global Climate Change Initiative was not included in the President’s
                   budget request for fiscal year 2018. State/OES officials said that the
                   agency does not plan to fund additional adaptation activities and has not
                   requested additional funding for the activities. According to a State
                   official, PRM had been in discussion with IOM to develop a project
                   proposal that would have assisted the governments of Small Island
                   Developing States in adapting their migration policies to account for
                   challenges and opportunities associated with environmental degradation,
                   ecosystem loss, climate change impacts, and natural disasters.
                   State/PRM stopped further development of the proposal following the
                   change in administrations. Additionally, according to a State official, the
                   department made some efforts at the end of the previous administration
                   to develop a formal position on the topic of climate change as a driver of
                   migration. For example, State drafted an internal document to help clarify
                   its role in responding to the humanitarian aspects of sudden-onset and
                   slow-onset climate events. This initial work stopped under the current
                   administration.


USAID Activities   USAID officials said that, with respect to the agency’s climate-related
                   programming, its climate change adaptation programming was the most
                   likely to include activities related to migration or displacement, although a
                   broad swath of USAID development programming has the potential to
                   build host country resilience. Officials stated that, to date, migration has
                   not been a primary motivation for the agency’s climate-related or disaster
                   assistance programming. However, officials said that, in a humanitarian
                   crisis or under some economic conditions, development programming can
                   reduce displacement or the pressure to migrate—such as by fostering
                   greater resilience to drought or other adverse conditions—and that this is
                   also true of climate-related programming. USAID also provides
                   humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters that displace



                   Page 22                            GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                     people. Officials said that USAID recognizes the links between
                     displacement and natural disasters, but that the agency does not have
                     specific programs linking disaster assistance, migration, and climate
                     change.

Adaptation Efforts   USAID identified about 250 activities that received adaptation funding
                     from the Global Climate Change Initiative during fiscal years 2014
                     through 2016. 52 Our analysis of the descriptions of these activities
                     determined that none directly mentioned any efforts specifically related to
                     migration. 53 Officials emphasized that the connection between climate
                     change and migration tends to be indirect and shaped by other more
                     immediate factors. USAID’s data on activities that received adaptation
                     funding identified 38 beneficiary countries, as well as activities described
                     generally as implemented at the regional or global level. 54 For activities
                     where USAID’s data identified a specific region, most activities were
                     located in Africa followed by Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. 55

                     Examples of the types of activities that received adaptation funding from
                     the Global Climate Change Initiative during fiscal years 2014 through
                     2016 include:

                     •    The Mali Climate Change Adaptation Activity, which aims to build
                          resilience to current climate variability and increase resilience to

                     52
                        Beginning in fiscal year 2017, State and USAID no longer allocated dedicated funding to
                     climate change adaptation, as they had under the Global Climate Change Initiative.
                     53
                       We conducted an automated review of the activity description fields provided by USAID
                     for terms related to migration, see appendix I for more information. Agency officials said
                     that USAID records funding and results data according to the original purposes of the
                     funding up until the date of obligation. According to officials, USAID does not have a way
                     of retrieving from its data systems whether a project includes activities related to migration
                     or displacement (or any other topic), unless the topics were part of the original intent or
                     purpose of the funding. Furthermore, officials indicated that there are no project or activity
                     documents that would aggregate funding levels and funding source, scope of work, and
                     assessment of impact specifically on migration or displacement (or any other topic),
                     unless the topics were part of the original intent or purpose of the funding.
                     54
                       The beneficiary country field was empty—either not specifying a specific country or
                     indicating that the activity was a regional or global activity—for 55 of the activities in
                     USAID’s data.
                     55
                       USAID’s data had specific region information for 160 of the 254 activities in the data. Of
                     those activities where a specific region was identified, 76 activities were located in Africa
                     (about 48 percent), 48 were located in Asia (about 30 percent), and 36 were located in
                     Latin America and the Caribbean (about 23 percent).




                     Page 23                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
     longer-term climate change effects. This activity is also working to
     strengthen the capacity of Mali’s meteorological agency to provide
     improved climate information as well as to incorporate climate
     considerations into local-level planning. The total estimated cost is
     about $13 million over 5 years. 56
•    The activity for Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods, which
     ended in September 2018, aimed to increase Bangladesh’s resilience
     to natural hazards by working with community-based organizations,
     government ministries, and technical agencies. This activity provided
     technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh and local
     communities to improve ecosystem conservation and resilience
     capacity. The total estimated cost was about $33 million in funding
     over 6 years.
•    The activity for Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through
     Market Expansion, which aims to support pastoralists in Ethiopia via
     expansion of markets and long-term behavior change (see fig. 3).
     USAID officials cited this activity as an example of adaptation efforts
     that indirectly address the issue of climate change as a driver of
     migration. The activity has three interrelated objectives: increasing
     household incomes, enhancing resilience, and bolstering adaptive
     capacity to climate change among pastoral people in Ethiopia. An
     evaluation of the activity found that migration is a coping strategy for
     dealing with climate shocks, although participants said that drought is
     becoming more frequent, placing a severe strain on traditional coping
     mechanisms, such as migration and selling cattle, and that permanent
     migration is not a preferred strategy. The total estimated cost is about
     $60 million in funding over 6 years.




56
  According to USAID, total estimated cost may not be fully funded depending on
availability of funds, the final amount negotiated with the implementer, changes in country
needs or the Country or Regional Development Cooperation Strategy, and or, other
issues. Further, USAID said that activities often address multiple development objectives;
therefore, not all of the total estimated cost can be attributed to climate adaptation funding.




Page 24                                     GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                Figure 3: Ethiopia Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market
                                Expansion Activity is Relevant to the Issue of Climate Change as a Driver of
                                Migration




                                With the shift in priorities related to climate change, funding for USAID’s
                                climate change adaptation activities has decreased. Missions may
                                continue to fund their adaptation activities with discretionary funds or
                                other earmarked, sector funding, provided the activities further the
                                funding source’s objective, according to USAID. For example, in some
                                cases, missions are using Water sector funding to continue some of their
                                adaptation work. USAID also said that among the agency’s goals are to
                                increase the resilience of USAID partner countries to recurrent crises,
                                including climate variability and change.

Humanitarian Aid and Disaster   In addition to USAID’s climate change adaptation programming,
Assistance Efforts              USAID/OFDA and USAID/FFP provide emergency humanitarian
                                assistance to people affected by sudden-onset disasters—such as
                                hurricanes and floods—and slow-onset and extended disasters, including
                                droughts and conflicts. Some of this assistance helps people who have
                                been displaced by disaster. USAID officials stated that although disasters
                                cause mainly temporary displacement, the relationship among
                                humanitarian assistance, climate change, and migration is very complex
                                and depends on both climatic and non-climatic factors. USAID/OFDA
                                responded to 267 disasters from fiscal year 2014 through June 2018,
                                according to agency data. For example, USAID/OFDA responded to the



                                Page 25                                GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                 effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti in October 2016, as seen in figure 4,
                 including helping temporarily displaced people.

                 Figure 4: USAID Aerial View of Hurricane Matthew Damage in Haiti, October 2016,
                 Which Temporarily Displaced People




DOD Activities   DOD assists in the U.S. government response to overseas disasters,
                 including helping people displaced by such disasters, regardless of the
                 cause of the disaster. These efforts are not specific to climate change as
                 a driver of migration. For example, officials from DOD’s geographic
                 combatant commands said that, to the extent they address climate
                 change, migration is not a focus of those efforts and they view migration
                 as caused by security and economic issues.




                 Page 26                               GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                     Between fiscal years 2014 and 2018, Congress has appropriated to DOD
                     between $103 and $130 million per year for Overseas Humanitarian,
                     Disaster, and Civic Aid. Officials said that the geographic combatant
                     commands use most of this funding for steady state humanitarian
                     assistance related to health, education, basic infrastructure, and disaster
                     preparedness with a smaller amount set aside for immediate disaster
                     assistance although that varies based on emergency requirements. DOD
                     officials said that they have not seen any changes to this funding or
                     associated activities with the change of administrations in fiscal year
                     2017. DOD officials we spoke with also emphasized that USAID/OFDA is
                     the lead agency for the U.S. government’s response to disasters
                     overseas. USAID/OFDA formally requested DOD support on about 10
                     percent of the foreign disaster assistance provided by USAID/OFDA,
                     according to USAID data for fiscal year 2014 through June 2018 and
                     DOD officials. DOD assistance is typically provided for the largest, most
                     complex disasters, according to agency officials.

                     According to a July 2015 assessment conducted by the geographic
                     combatant commands, while their activities vary, each command works
                     with partner nations to increase their abilities to reduce the risks and
                     effects from environmental impacts and climate-related events, including
                     severe weather and other hazards. 57 For example, in the report, U.S.
                     Southern Command stated that it had requested funding to pre-position
                     assets for when a severe storm threatens Haiti to be able to respond
                     immediately to a potential disaster. U.S. Southern Command officials said
                     that they work with partner nations to encourage residents experiencing
                     extreme weather to remain where they are because it is easier to provide
                     help to people who stay in one place. Officials from U.S. Southern
                     Command and U.S. Africa Command also said that the major factors
                     driving migration in their regions are security and economic issues.


Interagency Forums   State, USAID, and DOD have participated in interagency forums
                     regarding climate change, which may have addressed its effects on
                     migration. With changes to priorities regarding climate change in fiscal
                     year 2017, these forums have been disbanded or are not meeting.

                     •    The Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The
                          Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, of which State,
                     57
                      Department of Defense, National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a
                     Changing Climate (Washington, D.C.: July 2015).




                     Page 27                                 GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
      USAID, and DOD were members, was established to facilitate the
      integration of climate science in policies and planning of government
      agencies, including by promoting the development of climate change
      related information, data, and tools, among other things. Additionally,
      the council was to develop, recommend, and coordinate interagency
      efforts on priority federal government actions related to climate
      preparedness and resilience. According to State officials, the council
      began working with the National Security Council and other agencies
      to facilitate greater interagency cooperation on adaptation. In addition,
      a task force on the council was discussing the federal role in
      addressing displacement related to climate change. The council was
      disbanded when Executive Order 13783 revoked Executive Order
      13653, which had established the council. 58
•     The Working Group on Climate-Resilient International
      Development. The Working Group on Climate-Resilient International
      Development, of which State and USAID were members, was
      established by Executive Order 13677 and placed under the Council
      on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. 59 The working group’s
      mission includes developing guidelines for integrating considerations
      of climate-change risks and climate resilience into agency strategies,
      plans, programs, projects, investments, and related funding decisions,
      among other things. Additionally, the working group was tasked with
      facilitating the exchange of knowledge and lessons learned in
      assessing climate risks to agency strategies, among other things.
      USAID officials said that the working group had not discussed climate
      change as a driver of migration. While the working group has not been
      formally disbanded, it has not met since at least November 2017
      according to USAID.
•     The Climate and National Security Working Group. The Climate
      and National Security Working Group, of which State, USAID, and
      DOD were members, was established by the 2016 presidential
      memorandum. 60 The chairs of the working group were to coordinate
      the development of a strategic approach to identify, assess, and share
      information on current and projected climate-related impacts on
      national security interests and to inform the development of national
      security doctrine, policies, and plans, among other things. According

58
    Exec. Order No. 13,783, 82 Fed. Reg. 16,093 (Mar. 28, 2017).
59
    Exec. Order No. 13,677, 79 Fed. Reg. 58,231 (Sept. 23, 2014).
60
    Presidential Memorandum, Climate Change and National Security (Sept. 21, 2016).




Page 28                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                         to the memorandum, the working group was to provide a venue for
                         enhancing the understanding of the links between climate change-
                         related impacts and national security interests and for discussing
                         opportunities for climate mitigation and adaptation activities to
                         address national security issues. This working group was disbanded
                         when Executive Order 13783 revoked the 2016 presidential
                         memorandum, which had established the working group.

                     State, USAID, and DOD assessments and activities have not focused
Conclusions          specifically on the nexus of climate change and migration. State did
                     identify migration as a risk of climate change in at least one of its climate
                     change risk assessments for the department’s country strategies.
                     However, State now lacks clear guidance on its process for assessing
                     climate change-related risks to its integrated country strategies. State’s
                     current guidance for these country strategies no longer mentions a
                     climate change risk assessment and does not provide missions with
                     information about the climate risk screening tool that can be used to
                     conduct such an assessment. As such, missions are less likely to
                     examine climate change as a risk to their strategic objectives, or to do so
                     in a consistent manner, and thus may not have the information they would
                     need to identify migration as a risk of climate change. By clearly
                     documenting and providing guidance on how to assess the risk of climate
                     change, State would ensure that the department examines the potential
                     risks of climate change on its foreign assistance activities.


                     We are making the following recommendation to State:
Recommendation for
Executive Action     The Secretary of State should ensure that the Director of the Office of
                     U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources provides missions with guidance that
                     clearly documents the department’s process for climate change risk
                     assessments for integrated country strategies. (Recommendation 1)


                     We provided a draft of this product to State, USAID, and DOD for review
Agency Comments      and comment. State provided written comments, which we have reprinted
                     in appendix IV. In its comments, State did not oppose the
                     recommendation and noted that the agency will update its integrated
                     country strategy guidance by June 30, 2019 to inform missions that they
                     have the option to include an annex on climate resilience, as well as other
                     topics. However, State also indicated that the agency will begin working
                     with stakeholders to consider whether to recommend that the Secretary of



                     Page 29                            GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
State ask the President to rescind Executive Order 13677: Climate-
Resilient International Development.

USAID also provided written comments, which we have reprinted in
appendix V. In its letter, USAID provided some additional information
about its programs and its proposed transformation effort. USAID and
DOD provided technical comments, which we incorporated as
appropriate.


We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional
requesters, Secretary of State, the Administrator of USAID, and the
Secretary of Defense. In addition, the report is available at no charge on
the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
David Gootnick at (202) 512-3149 or gootnickd@gao.gov, or Brian J.
Lepore at (202) 512-4523 or leporeb@gao.gov. Contact points for our
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on
the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key contributions to this
report are listed in appendix VI.




David Gootnick
Director, International Affairs and Trade




Brian J. Lepore
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 30                            GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
List of Requesters

The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senate

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate

The Honorable Elizabeth Warren
United States Senate

The Honorable Edward J. Markey
United States Senate

The Honorable Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senate




Page 31                            GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Methodology

              This report (1) describes executive branch actions related to climate
              change and migration from fiscal years 2014 through 2018; (2) examines
              the extent to which the Department of State (State), the U.S. Agency for
              International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense
              (DOD) have discussed the potential effects of climate change on
              migration in their plans and risk assessments; and (3) describes State,
              USAID, and DOD activities, if any, that are related to climate change and
              global migration. We chose fiscal years 2014 through 2018 as our time
              frame based on our review of recent executive orders related to climate
              change. We selected State, USAID, and DOD because the agencies’
              missions of diplomacy, development, and defense provide the foundation
              for promoting and protecting U.S. interests abroad.

              To describe executive branch actions related to climate change and
              migration from fiscal years 2014 through 2018, we reviewed documents
              that reflect priorities of the previous and current administrations.
              Specifically, we reviewed budget requests and enacted appropriations
              between fiscal years 2014 through 2018 for funding priorities related to
              climate change and U.S. foreign assistance. In addition, we reviewed
              executive actions and executive branch strategies that applied to State,
              USAID, and DOD between fiscal years 2014 through 2018 for executive
              and national security priorities related to climate change. For example, we
              reviewed the current and previous national security strategies.

              To examine the extent to which State, USAID, and DOD have discussed
              the potential effects of climate change on migration in their plans and risk
              assessments, we reviewed documents completed since fiscal year 2014
              such as Agency Adaptation Plans, previously required by Executive Order
              13653; country and regional strategies; and policy guidance. We also met
              with officials from these agencies to discuss these assessments. We
              reviewed State and USAID country and regional strategies that were
              required by Executive Order 13677 to be assessed for climate risk. 1 For
              State, we chose integrated country strategies from 10 missions by
              selecting the countries that fit the following two criteria: (1) they were
              located in either State’s Africa or East Asia and the Pacific bureaus,
              which were the first two bureaus to implement climate risk assessments;
              and (2) they were identified by USAID and DOD as climate change
              priorities or experiencing displacement due to natural disasters. To obtain
              a broader perspective, we also reviewed three functional bureau

              1
              Exec. Order No. 13,677, 79 Fed. Reg. 58,231 (Sept. 23, 2014).




              Page 32                                GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




strategies and seven regional bureau strategies. For USAID, we
examined the five country and regional strategies that were required to
include a climate risk assessment at the time of our review: Uganda,
Tunisia, East Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. We also reviewed all nine
USAID regional strategies. For both State and USAID, we reviewed the
selected strategies by searching for information related to migration and
climate change. To determine whether State clearly documents the
department’s current climate risk assessment process for integrated
country strategies, we compared State’s 2018 guidance for developing
integrated country strategies with standards related to documentation in
Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government and previous
State guidance issued in 2016, which was created in response to
Executive Order 13677’s requirements to assess climate change risks to
strategies, among other things. 2

To describe State, USAID, and DOD activities, if any, that are related to
climate change and global migration, we requested that agencies identify
and provide information on efforts that were active between fiscal years
2014 and 2017.

•   State officials said that the agency received adaptation funding from
    the Global Climate Change Initiative during this period so we
    requested a list of projects from State’s Bureau of Oceans and
    International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (State/OES).
    State/OES provided all adaptation projects funded with State/OES
    funds in fiscal year 2014 or later. We reviewed the summaries of
    those eight projects for discussion of migration. Because no State
    adaptation projects specifically mentioned migration, for the purposes
    of this report we chose illustrative examples to provide context for the
    types of projects the agency has funded. State/OES and the Bureau
    for Population, Refugees, and Migration also discussed international
    initiatives in which they have participated that have activities relevant
    to climate change as a driver of migration.
•   USAID officials from the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and
    Environment identified activities that received adaptation funding from
    the Global Climate Change Initiative as the most likely to be relevant




2
 GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO-14-704G
(Washington, D.C.: September 2014).




Page 33                                GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




    to these issues. 3 The agency then provided us with data for about 250
    activities from its annual operational plans for fiscal years 2014
    through 2016, the 3 years during the period we reviewed in which it
    received adaptation funding. USAID identified these activities based
    on whether the agency had tagged them in its plans as having an
    “adaptation key issue.” USAID excluded projects that had planned
    attributions to the adaptation key issue of less than $250,000 in a
    given fiscal year, as well as certain other activities such as those that
    focused on project support. We then conducted an automated review
    of the activity description fields provided by USAID for terms related to
    migration and other descriptive information such as locations of
    activities. Because no USAID adaptation activities specifically
    mentioned migration, for the purposes of this report we chose
    illustrative examples to provide context for the types of activities the
    agency has funded.
•   DOD officials we met with did not identify any specific activities related
    to climate change as a driver of migration. DOD officials from the
    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low
    Intensity Conflict and the geographic combatant commands 4 generally
    discussed DOD activities related to humanitarian assistance and
    disaster response as most relevant to our inquiry. Because DOD
    works in coordination with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster
    Assistance on disaster assistance we also reviewed USAID data on
    its disaster response activities during this period.
We determined that the USAID and State adaptation project data and
USAID disaster assistance data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes
of describing these efforts.

We also obtained information on the effects of any changes in priorities
related to climate change on these agency activities, as well as on
interagency coordination. We reviewed relevant presidential budget
requests and executive actions. In addition, we met with officials from


3
 The Global Climate Change Initiative was established in 2010 to promote resilient, low-
emission development, and integrate climate change considerations into U.S. foreign
assistance. The initiative was divided into three main programmatic initiatives: (1)
Adaptation assistance, (2) Clean Energy assistance, and (3) Sustainable Landscapes
assistance.
4
 DOD’s geographic commands include: U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command,
U.S. European Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and
U.S. Southern Command.




Page 34                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




State, USAID, and DOD to obtain information on whether changes in
government priorities related to climate change affected their activities.

We conducted this performance audit from October 2017 to January 2019
in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives.




Page 35                              GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Appendix II: Regional Focus on Climate
              Regional Focus on Climate Change as a Driver
              of Global Migration



Change as a Driver of Global Migration

              This appendix provides a review by region of observed and projected
              climate change effects, migration trends, and challenges in stability and
              security. Multiple sources we used for this overview make a connection
              between climate change and such events as rising sea levels, higher
              temperatures, and an increase in the number and severity of extreme
              weather events. 1 The following regions are discussed: Asia, South
              America, the Arctic, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North
              Africa, Oceania, and Central America and the Caribbean. We have
              provided an overview for each region and a focus on one country or
              territory in the region.

              To provide this overview, we reviewed information from a number of
              sources. 2 First, we reviewed reports from international organizations
              focused specifically on climate change or migration: the
              Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); 3 the United Nations
              Environment Programme (UNEP); the International Organization for
              Migration (IOM); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
              (UNHCR); and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (ACP)
              Observatory on Migration. 4 Second, we reviewed relevant reports from
              1
               See previous GAO work related to the uncertainties in projecting the effects of climate
              change, GAO, Climate Information: A National System Could Help Federal, State, Local,
              and Private Sector Decision Makers Use Climate Information, GAO-16-37 (Washington,
              D.C.: November 23, 2015). According to a 2012 National Research Council report on
              climate models, the fundamental science of greenhouse gas-induced climate change is
              simple and compelling. However, genuine and important uncertainties remain, such as
              how clouds affect the climate system, and these uncertainties need to be considered in
              developing scientifically based strategies for societal response to climate change—
              especially those related to “downscaled” climate information. For more information, see
              National Research Council, A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modeling
              (Washington, D.C.: 2012).
              2
               For domestic climate science information, GAO relies on the National Academies of
              Science, Engineering, and Medicine and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
              According to these sources, limiting the federal government's fiscal exposure to climate
              change risks will be challenging no matter the outcome of efforts to reduce emissions, in
              part because greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere will continue altering the
              climate system for many decades.
              3
               The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. We
              reviewed information from IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which is the
              organization’s most comprehensive assessment of scientific knowledge on climate change
              since 2007. The report was released in four parts between September 2013 and
              November 2014. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report will also be released in four parts
              between April 2021 and April 2022.
              4
               The ACP Observatory on Migration is an initiative to study South-South migration and
              development. Financial support for the initiative comes from the European Union,
              Switzerland, the United Nations Population Fund, and IOM.




              Page 36                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Regional Focus on Climate Change as a Driver
of Global Migration




international and regional organizations, including a variety of
organizations within the United Nations, the World Bank, regional
development banks, the European Union, and others. Third, we reviewed
relevant public documents from U.S. government agencies, including the
Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID), and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Fourth, we
reviewed academic sources, research institutions, and documents from
the relevant country’s national government.

The information about each country or territory also includes the following
indices and statistics, chosen to illustrate underlying conditions that
impact climate resilience, migration, and stability:

•      Total Population: The total population of a country, area, or region. 5
•      Fragile States Index: An annual ranking of 178 countries based on
       factors that impact stability, with 1 being the least stable, and 178 the
       most stable. The index accounts for economic, political, and social
       factors, among others. 6 According to a variety of sources, fragile or
       unstable states may have limited resilience to cope with the effects of
       climate change, including a potential increase in migration.
•      Human Development Index: A composite index covering three
       dimensions: life expectancy at birth, mean and expected years of
       schooling, and gross national income per capita. The Human
       Development Index classifies countries as Low, Medium, High, or
       Very High Human Development. 7 Household characteristics and
       economic conditions may be factors for individuals in deciding
       whether to migrate.
•      Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita: The sum of gross value
       added by all resident producers in the economy divided by the total




5
 Country level statistics for total population from United Nations Development Program,
Human Development Indices and Indicators: 2018 Statistical Update (New York, NY,
2018). Total population for Greenland from Population, total Data (2017) Retrieved from
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=GL.
6
    Fund for Peace, 2018 Fragile States Index (Washington, D.C., 2018).
7
    United Nations Development Program (2018).




Page 37                                    GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Regional Focus on Climate Change as a Driver
of Global Migration




       population. 8 Economic conditions may be a factor for people deciding
       whether to migrate or stay in their country of origin.
•      Remittances as Percent of GDP: The money international migrants
       transfer to recipients in their country of origin, expressed as a
       percentage of the origin country’s GDP. 9 Sources agree that
       remittances support resilience in origin countries.
•      Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry as Percent of GDP: A measure of
       the value added to an economy from the agricultural sector, which
       includes forestry, hunting, fishing, and the cultivation of crops and
       livestock, expressed as a percentage of the country’s GDP. 10
       Countries that depend on the agricultural sector may be vulnerable to
       the effects of climate change, according to the World Bank.
•      Percent of Population in Cities: The population living in areas
       classified as urban according to criteria each country uses. 11 Today,
       more than half of the global population lives in cities. Migration, in
       some cases due to climate change, is an important driver of urban
       growth, according to IOM. Cities are also expected to face increasing
       risks from rising sea levels, flooding, storms, and other climate
       change effects.
•      Net Migration Rate: A measure of the number of people leaving a
       country compared to the number of people entering a country,
       expressed as a number per 1,000 people. 12




8
 Country level statistics for GDP per Capita from United Nations Development Program
(2018). GDP per Capita for Greenland, from GDP per Capita (current US$) Data. (2017).
Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD.
9
    United Nations Development Program (2018).
10
  Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (percent of GDP) Data. (2017). Retrieved
from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/nv.agr.totl.zs.
11
     United Nations Development Program (2018).
12
     United Nations Development Program (2018).




Page 38                                   GAO-19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                ASIA
                                                The effects of climate change in Asia may impact migration and stability
                                                according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and
                                                the Asian Development Bank (ADB). In coastal areas, effects of climate
                                                change include rising sea levels, storm surges, and others. Receding
                                                glaciers in mountanous areas may also cause flooding, and monsoons in
                                                a warmer climate may be more severe. Heat extremes and more rainfall
                                                are a particular concern in Southeast Asia. Changes in precipitation and
                                                drought in Asia may exacerbate food security challenges, and contribute
                                                to people deciding to migrate. Increases in migration, partly stemming
                                                from the effects of climate change in surrounding rural areas, may put
                                                pressure on existing urban infrastructure. Rural migrants may settle in
                                                informal communities on the outskirts of cities, areas that have little
                                                resilience to natural disasters. Although the World Bank and others agree
                                                that climate change largely causes internal migration, some evidence
                                                shows that the impact of climate change contributes to cross-border
                                                migration in Asia.13 Large numbers of migrants, along with other
                                                destabilizing factors, may contribute to instability and conflict, according to
                                                the IPCC. The effects of climate change on livelihoods, for example, could
                                                increase migration, strain governance, and contribute to conflict as a
                                                result. Bangladesh is one example where decreased yields from
                                                agriculture and fisheries have contributed to migration to the country’s
                                                coastal cities, which face their own climate change challenges.

Bangladesh: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security
Total Population                                Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change 77
164,700,000
                                                Bangladesh’s high population density and geography make the country
Fragile States Index                            susceptible to the effects of climate change, according to the World Bank,
                                                and others. Bangladesh’s coasts and river banks are vulnerable to
#32 out of 178
                                                sudden-onset events such as tropical cyclones and flooding. Cyclone Aila
A lower number indicates greater instability.   in 2009, for example, caused widespread flooding in the southern coastal
Human Development Index                         areas of Bangladesh and impacted millions of people. The storm washed
Medium                                          away embankments that protected coastlines and caused severe damage
                                                to crops and livelihoods. Tropical Cyclone Mora in 2017 damaged
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)                    thousands of homes and displaced an estimated 200,000 people.
per Capita                                      Increases in the number and intensity of tropical cyclones, which some
$3,524                                          predict will occur in a warmer climate, could have severe impacts on
Remittances as % of GDP                         homes, livelihoods, and food security.14 Bangladesh also experiences
5.4                                             many slow-onset climate change events, such as rising sea levels and
                                                increasingly severe droughts, which are projected to intensify with climate
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry                  change. Bangladesh would lose an estimated 17.5 percent of its land if
as % of GDP                                     the sea level rose 1 meter, as the International Organization for Migration
13.4                                            (IOM) has reported. Projected changes in precipitation levels could cause
                                                drought and food insecurity in the northwest and salt-water intrusion could
% Population in Cities                          reduce crop yields in the southwest.
35.9
Net Migration Rate per 1000
people                                          13
                                                 The Nansen Initiative, Global Consultation Conference Report (Geneva, October 12-13,
-3.2                                            2015).
                                                14
                                                 See previous GAO work related to food assistance in Bangladesh, GAO, International
                                                Food Assistance: Agencies Should Ensure Timely Documentation of Required Market
                                                Analyses and Assess Local Markets for Program Effects, GAO-17-640 (Washington, D.C.:
                                                July 13, 2017).


                                                Page 39                                 GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Asia


Map of Bangladesh               Migration Trends
                                Migration is a common adaptation strategy to climate change in
                                Bangladesh, according to the ADB. For example, some farmers have
                                adapted to salt water intrusion and destroyed crops by switching to salt-
                                tolerant rice production or shrimp cultivation. Others have migrated, often
                                to Bangladesh’s cities to find work less dependent on agriculture. Many
                                new migrants to Bangladesh’s cities live in informal settlements that lack
                                the resilience to withstand sudden-onset climate events. The capital city,
                                Dhaka, is a common destination for migrants displaced by salt-water
                                intrusion, flooding, and river erosion, according to IOM. Dhaka, like many
                                coastal cities in South Asia, is located on a low-lying riverbank and faces
                                increasing risks of extreme flooding. For example, past floods in Dhaka
                                have destroyed homes and contaminated drinking water, creating
                                significant health hazards. In some cases, individuals migrate to cities
                                temporarily for work and return home after the agricultural off season
                                ends. Bangladeshis also provide a significant number of labor migrants to
                                the Gulf States and Malaysia. Remittances from international migrants
                                represent 5.4 percent of the country’s GDP, and may help to support
                                resilience to climate change, according to IOM, and others. These
                                migration trends may intensify in the future. One study estimates 9.6
                                million people will migrate from 2011 to 2050 due to the effects of climate
                                change.15

A flooded house in Bangladesh   Challenges in Stability and Security
                                Migration due to climate change is cited as a potential destabilizing factor
                                in Bangladesh by ADB, and others. The low-income population in
                                Bangladesh is dependent on agriculture, making the effects of climate
                                change—including impacts on food security—a particular concern. By
                                2030, these effects on livelihoods and food security could increase the
                                poverty rate in Bangladesh by 15 percent, as the IPCC has reported.
                                Given the proximity of Bangladesh to India, some individuals may also
                                choose to cross the border. Increased migration to India is a potential
                                concern, according to some sources, as India may not have the
                                resources to absorb large numbers of Bangladeshi migrants.16 78




                                15
                                 Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit and the Sussex Centre for Migration
                                Research, Climate Change-related Migration in Bangladesh (Climate and Development
                                Knowledge Network, April 2013).
                                16
                                  The CNA Corporation, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (Alexandria,
                                VA: 2007); and Population Council, “Effects of Future Climate Change on Cross-Border
                                Migration in North Africa and India,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 36, No. 2
                                (2010).


                                Page 40                                  GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                SOUTH AMERICA
                                                The effects of climate change in South America vary by region, according
                                                to the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and
                                                International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as potentially
                                                impacting migration and stability. On the coast, risks include sea level
                                                rise, depletion of fisheries, and coral reef bleaching, according to IOM.
                                                Coastal cities with growing populations are particularly vulnerable. Melting
                                                glaciers in the Andean mountain region, and increased rainfall are
                                                expected to change the distribution of water resources, and impact food
                                                production as global demand for food is growing. Desertification and land
                                                degradation, complicated by the effects of climate change, are
                                                contributing to migration from rural areas to cities in South America, as
                                                IOM has reported. An estimated 77 percent of people living in high risk
                                                areas in South America are located in cities, according to IOM. IOM
                                                predicts that as these people feel the effects of sea level rise and water
                                                scarcity, they will migrate from the large coastal cities to smaller urban
                                                areas. While South America has experienced economic growth in the last
                                                decade, poverty rates remain high, and the effects of climate change,
                                                including possible migration, may exacerbate inequalities, putting further
                                                pressure on cities to meet the needs of their populations. Water security
                                                in particular is expected to disproportionaly impact low-income
                                                communities, according to the IPCC. For example, in Brazil, drought in
                                                the northeast may increase migration to southern cities that are facing
                                                rising sea levels and landslides, with consequences for food, water, and
                                                energy security.


Brazil: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security

Total Population                                Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change
209,300,000                                     Brazil’s cities and rural regions may encounter a range of climate change
Fragile States Index                            effects, according to the IPCC and IOM. Rural areas, particularly in the
                                                northeast, could experience significant impacts from climate change partly
#106 out of 178                                 due to poverty rates, and historical vulnerability to drought. Higher
A lower number indicates greater instability.   temperatures are expected to affect crop yields and household incomes,
Human Development Index                         especially for low-income communities. In northeastern Brazil,
High                                            temperatures are expected to increase and rainfall to decrease. The
                                                northeast could see a 22 percent reduction in precipitation by 2100,
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)                    according to IPCC projections. Brazil’s coastal areas, including cities, are
per Capita                                      also vulnerable to rising sea levels, heavy precipitation, flooding, and
$14,103                                         landslides. The vast majority of Brazil’s population, about 86 percent, lives
                                                in cities, many in coastal areas, according to the United Nations
Remittances as % of GDP                         Development Program. As their populations have grown, urban areas have
0.1                                             extended out. This urban growth in Brazil’s megacities has caused further
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry                  increases in temperature, rainfall, and landslides. For example, current
                                                levels of urbanization in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo may already be
as % of GDP                                     responsible for the 2°C warming observed in the city over the last 50 years,
4.6                                             as well as the rise in extreme rainfall, according to the IPCC. The
% Population in Cities                          metropolitan area is expected to extend its area 38 percent by 2030.
                                                Multiple studies of the effects of urbanization on Sao Paulo’s climate
86.3                                            suggest higher temperatures affect convective rainfall, which occurs when
Net Migration Rate per 1000                     warm air rises, condenses to form clouds, and produces extreme rain.
people                                          Other concerns are the depletion of coral reefs and mangrove forests on
                                                Brazil’s coastlines, and decreases in biodiversity.
0.0



                                                Page 41                            GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
South America


Map of Brazil                           Migration Trends
                                        Migration from drought in northeastern Brazil to cities has increased
                                        urban populations, putting more people at risk of displacement from
                                        flooding and landslides. Migration from the northeast is a historical trend
                                        in Brazil, as economic migrants have sought seasonal jobs in more
                                        productive agricultural regions, or moved permanently to southern cities.
                                        Projected declines in rainfall have led some to predict further increases in
                                        migration in northeastern Brazil, as the IPCC has reported. However,
                                        remittances from family members who leave Brazil’s northeast support
                                        resilience for those who remain and may help to reduce migration.
                                        Already environmental factors contribute to migration to cities, including to
                                        favelas, informal settlements often constructed in hilly areas and
                                        floodplains outside of Brazilian cities. A significant number of the favela
                                        residents in Rio de Janeiro are migrants from northeastern Brazil,
                                        according to IOM. These new migrants may be at risk of further
                                        displacement if heavy rainfall, flooding, and other climate change effects
                                        destroy their vulnerable homes. For example, heavy rainfall in April 2010
                                        resulted in landslides across Rio de Janeiro, displacing an estimated
                                        5,000 people, according to a report from the World Bank. Brazil is also a
                                        destination for migrants from other countries in the region. Migrants from
                                        Venezuela searching for jobs and improved food security have come in
                                        growing numbers in recent years, as have migrants from Haiti fleeing a
                                        series of natural disasters, as IOM has reported.



A favela on the outskirts of Salvador   Challenges in Stability and Security
de Bahia, Brazil
                                        Although Brazil ranks 106th out of 178 countries on the Fragile States
                                        Index, the effects of climate change may contribute to challenges with
                                        water, food, and energy access according to the IPCC. Decreased rainfall
                                        could decrease agricultural productivity, with potential health impacts for
                                        poor populations. These conditions are of particular concern in
                                        northeastern Brazil, as extreme weather and low crop yields are
                                        associated with more violence, according to the IPCC. Brazil also
                                        receives about 70 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric power,
                                        according the United Nations Environment Programme, and recent
                                        droughts caused power cuts across many major cities. Although not
                                        linked to the effects of climate change, absorbing a growing number of
                                        migrants fleeing political and economic instability in Venezuela may
                                        impact the broader region, according to the U.S. Department of Defense
                                        and the National Intelligence Council. Neighboring countries, including
                                        Brazil, may struggle to absorb the influx of migrants. On average, 800
                                        Venezuelans are crossing the border to Brazil every day in need of urgent
                                        humanitarian assistance, according to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee
                                        Agency.




                                        Page 42                             GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                            THE ARCTIC
                                            The effects of climate change in the Arctic, including higher temperatures
                                            and melting ice, have contributed to shifts in migration across the Arctic,
                                            and may have security implications. Increasing temperatures may have a
                                            variety of impacts in the Arctic, according to the Intergovernmental Panel
                                            on Climate Change (IPCC). The effects of rising temperatures are
                                            disrupting livelihoods and food security, especially for indigenous
                                            communities, and opening up untapped natural resources to extraction.
                                            Both trends have impacted migration flows in the Arctic. Rising
                                            temperatures and melting ice have opened up previously inaccessible
                                            waterways in the Arctic, with implications for national security, according
                                            to the Department of Defense and others. Greenland, located in the Arctic
                                            and considered part of Kingdom of Denmark, exhibits many of these
                                            trends.

Greenland: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security

Total Population                            Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change
56,000                                      Greenland is experiencing the effects of climate change, including glacial
                                            and ice melt, shifts in wildlife distribution, and newly available oil and
Fragile States Index                        mineral deposits, among others. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers
Not Available*                              approximately 80 percent of Greenland’s land mass. The ice sheet’s
                                            melting rate is slow, but uncertain. Increases in temperature greater than
Human Development Index                     1°C may result in the near loss of the entire ice sheet over a millennium
Not Available*                              and significant sea level rise, according to the IPCC. In the short term,
                                            predicting the ice sheet’s melting rate is a challenge as predictions vary in
                                            the scientific community. Accurate predictions would support mitigation
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)                and adaptation efforts in vulnerable areas. Rising temperatures and
per Capita                                  shrinking ice cover have shifted the distribution and migration patterns of
$48,159.5                                   marine mammals and fish, and impacted food security according to the
                                            IPCC and the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum for Arctic states.
Remittances as % of GDP                     For example, the economy in Paamiut, Greenland, depended primarily on
Not Available*                              cod fisheries until changing climate conditions caused cod to disappear,
                                            and the town was slow to adapt to newly available shrimp. Similarly,
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry              fisheries in Disko Bay, Greenland, have struggled to adapt to new
as % of GDP                                 conditions. Rising temperatures and the resulting reduction in ice cover
18.7                                        have required a shift to fishing from boats in open water instead of
                                            hunting and fishing over ice cover. Lastly, warming and ice melt may
% Population in Cities                      make significant oil and mineral deposits accessible for extraction in the
Not Available*                              future. The potential expansion of extraction industries makes
                                            environmental sustainability another possible concern. For example, an
Net Migration Rate per 1000                 estimated 31 billion barrels of oil and gas may exist off the coast of
people                                      Northeast Greenland, according to the Kingdom of Denmark’s 2011-2020
                                            Arctic Strategy. The strategy stresses the importance of assessing and
Not Available*
                                            reducing risks to the environment resulting from the exploration and
                                            extraction of oil and gas.

*Statistics available for the Kingdom of
Denmark, but not for Greenland, a part of
Denmark.




                                            Page 43                             GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
The Artic


Map of Greenland                      Migration Trends
                                      The effects of climate change are predicted to contribute to internal and
                                      external migration in Greenland. For example, young people are
                                      increasingly leaving indigenous communities in rural areas for cities in
                                      Greenland in search of work, as traditional livelihoods become
                                      unsustainable. Greenland is home to a majority indigenous population,
                                      primarily Inuit, whose traditional hunting and fishing practices require
                                      travel across ice. In the past, people adapted to seasonal changes to
                                      support livelihoods by migrating, and the practice was embedded into
                                      indigenous social structures. With reduced ice cover, however, migrating
                                      to hunt, fish, and maintain connections to community is more dangerous
                                      or restricted. Government policies promoting centralized services, such
                                      as health care and education, have also played a role in the shift away
                                      from migration as a way of life. As a result, indigenous livelihoods are
                                      more difficult to maintain, and young people often migrate to towns and
                                      cities in Greenland, or to Denmark, for education. At the same time,
                                      warmer temperatures have made mineral extraction feasible. As the
                                      extraction industry grows, new jobs may draw migrants from outside the
                                      Arctic region. In 2011 companies spent $100 million on the exploration of
                                      minerals in the Artic, and the estimated number of new mines is expected
                                      to require more workers than now live in the region.17 79Currently, more
                                      people leave than migrate to Greenland.

The local Inuit population in         Challenges in Stability and Security
Uummannaq, Greenland relies
heavily on ice coverage for fishing   Although instability is not a concern in Greenland, the effects of climate
and travel by traditional dog-sled.   change have increased its strategic importance to Denmark and other
                                      countries, which may impact indigenous society and governance.
                                      Denmark and its territories rank very high on the human development
                                      index, and the country is not considered a fragile state. However, activity
                                      in the Arctic has increased demand for defense capabilities in Greenland.
                                      The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic, as reported by the U.S. National Snow
                                      and Ice Data Center, combined with an expected growth in human
                                      activity, has heightened U.S. interests in the Arctic region, including in
                                      Greenland, as we have previously reported.18 80In recent years Denmark
                                      has invested in defense capabilities specific to the Arctic, citing the need
                                      for improved operational capacity in the region. Disruption to indigenous
                                      ways of life, specifically hunting and fishing livelihoods, is also a concern.
                                      For example, high rates of alcoholism and domestic violence in
                                      Greenland have been linked to rapid social changes, according to a
                                      recent report from the European Union. Although a territory of Denmark,
                                      Greenland has considerable independence and may become more
                                      economically independent as revenues from the extraction of natural
                                      resources grow.19 81




                                      17
                                       Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, A Complex Constellation:
                                      Displacement, Climate Change and Arctic Peoples (January 30, 2013).
                                      18
                                        GAO, Coast Guard: Arctic Strategy Is Underway, but Agency Could Better Assess How
                                      Its Actions Mitigate Known Arctic Capability Gaps, GAO-16-453 (Washington, D.C.: June
                                      15, 2016).
                                      19
                                           Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement.



                                      Page 44                                    GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
                                                The effects of climate change on Sub-Saharan Africa vary depending on
                                                the region and have impacts on migration and security, according to the
                                                International Organization for Migration (IOM). Coastal areas, for
                                                example, in West and East Africa are at risk from sea level rise that could
                                                affect major cities. Drought and the risk of desertification in the Sahel is
                                                cited as a concern, as is increased rainfall in parts of Central Africa
                                                accompanied by lower agricultural yields. As desertification threatens the
                                                livelihoods of farmers and herders, and drought makes fishing more
                                                challenging, rural dwellers may be more likely to migrate to cities,
                                                according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
                                                Urbanization and population growth across Sub-Saharan Africa is already
                                                making densely populated cities vulnerable to flooding, storms, and
                                                erosion, increasing the number of people at risk of displacement by
                                                sudden-onset disasters. Climate change effects and changing migration
                                                flows across Sub-Saharan Africa may impact access to natural resources
                                                and contribute to existing tensions and conflicts, according to UNEP and
                                                the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In Nigeria, the
                                                effects of climate change may effect a variety of livelihoods and increase
                                                migration south, while also exacerbating existing conflicts.

Nigeria: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security
Total Population                                Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change
190,900,000                                     The effects of climate change on Nigeria may impact the country’s
Fragile States Index                            agriculture and economy, according to the United States Institute of
#14 out of 178                                  Peace (USIP). Higher temperatures and decreased rainfall have
A lower number indicates greater instability.
                                                contributed to drought in northern Nigeria. Desertification is also a
                                                concern. Some regions in northern Nigeria have less than 10 inches of
Human Development Index
                                                rain a year, an amount that has decreased by 25 percent since the
Low                                             1980’s, according to USIP. In other areas across Nigeria flooding has
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)                    resulted in major crop losses, according to UNEP. Rising sea level, water
per Capita                                      inundation, and erosion are concerns in Nigeria’s coastal areas. Rising
$5,338                                          sea level is predicted to pose medium to very high risks to Africa’s coastal
                                                areas by 2100, according to the IPCC. Future sea level rise could result in
Remittances as % of GDP
                                                the inundation of over 70 percent of the Nigerian coast. A rise of 0.2
5.8                                             meters in sea level could risk billions of dollars in assets, including oil
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry                  wells near the coast. Even without a rapid rise in sea level, Nigeria’s
as % of GDP                                     coastal areas could experience erosion and significant land loss by 2100,
20.8                                            as the IPCC has reported.
% Population in Cities
49.5
Net Migration Rate per 1000
people
-0.4




                                                Page 45                             GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Sub-Saharan Africa


Map of Nigeria                         Migration Trends
                                       The effects of climate change on livelihoods in northern Nigeria may
                                       contribute to migration to the south according to UNEP, while conflict in
                                       the north drives separate migration trends. As the effects of climate
                                       change make farming and fishing more challenging elsewhere in Nigeria,
                                       migration to southern coastal cities may increase. Traditionally, farmers,
                                       herders, and fishery workers migrated for temporary employment during
                                       the off season, including migration to Nigeria’s cities to work in the oil
                                       industry. Permanent migration south as well as to cities may become
                                       more common if land suitable for farming decreases. As fish habitats like
                                       Lake Chad dry up, fishery workers may also migrate. Larger urban
                                       populations on the coast will put more people at risk of sea level rise,
                                       water inundation, and erosion, according to the IPCC. A rise in sea level
                                       of 1 meter could put over 3 million people at risk of displacement as the
                                       IPCC has reported. Herders have also moved further south due to
                                       increased drought in northern Nigeria, as UNEP and USIP have reported.
                                       A 2010 survey of herdsmen in Nigeria, for example, found that nearly
                                       one-third of them had migrated southeast as a result of changes in the
                                       natural environment, according to the UNEP. The ongoing conflict with
                                       Boko Haram, while not caused by climate change, has further resulted in
                                       millions of displaced people across the Lake Chad region, including many
                                       Nigerians who have fled to Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
Nigerian refugees at the Minawao       Challenges in Stability and Security
camp in Cameroon.
                                       The effects of climate change, migration, and conflict are interconnected
                                       in Nigeria, as USIP has reported. The country is ranked 14th of 178
                                       countries on the Fragile States Index. Events in northwest Africa,
                                       including Boko Haram’s attacks in Nigeria, have underscored concerns
                                       about the region’s vulnerability to the spread of violent extremism.20 The   82




                                       effects of climate change may exacerbate these concerns, according to
                                       USIP. Nigerians fleeing attacks from Boko Haram in the north have gone
                                       to communities in neighboring Chad, Cameroon, and Niger that are
                                       already experiencing food shortages due in part to climate change. These
                                       neighboring countries as a result have fewer resources to support both
                                       their own residents and the newer refugees. Non-state actors may also
                                       take advantage of government inaction on the effects of climate change.
                                       Boko Haram, for example, has justified its acts of violence by pointing to
                                       government failures, according to the USIP. Separately, increased
                                       drought in the north may aggravate historic tensions over land and water
                                       use between farmers in the south and herders migrating from the north,
                                       according to UNEP. Nigeria’s oil fields on the coast, which represent a
                                       significant part of the economy, are also at risk from sea level rise.
                                       Potential losses in oil revenue could impact Nigeria’s ability to respond to
                                       humanitarian crises and conflict at home. Increased violence within its
                                       borders could also affect Nigeria’s ability to support regional
                                       peacekeeping missions, such as the United Nations Mission in Liberia
                                       from 2003 to 2018, where Nigerian troops worked to restore security after
                                       a civil war.




                                       20
                                        GAO, Combating Terrorism: U.S. Efforts In Northwest Africa Would Be Strengthened By
                                       Enhanced Program Management, GAO-14-518 (Washington, D.C., June 24, 2014).



                                   Page 46                                    GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
                                                The effects of climate change in the Middle East and North Africa,
                                                including on its desert regions, may impact water access and compound
                                                migration and stability challenges, according to the United Nations
                                                Environmental Programme (UNEP). Over 60 percent of the population
                                                already experiences high or very high water stress, according to the
                                                World Bank. Coupled with unsustainable water use, climate change may
                                                further exacerbate challenges with water security. The region continues
                                                to experience rising temperatures and declining annual rainfall, trends
                                                that contribute to the severity and length of drought, land degradation,
                                                and desertification. Decreased water security affects the livelihood and
                                                quality of life of farmers in the region, contributing to an increase in their
                                                migration to the cities and more urbanization, according to the World
                                                Bank. In contrast, many people are expected to migrate away from
                                                coastal cities as a result of sea level rise, according to UNEP. These
                                                potential migrations would be taking place in a region that already hosts
                                                large numbers of migrants such as those displaced by conflict and
                                                violence, including 18 percent of the world’s refugees, according to the
                                                International Organization for Migration. Challenges in water security may
                                                put greater pressure on unstable governments in the region, by
                                                intensifying existing tensions and conflicts between populations and their
                                                governments as well as between countries that share sources of water.
                                                The conflict in Syria illustrates the complex nature of climate change,
                                                migration, and conflict in the region, and the challenges to accurately
                                                assessing the links among the three, as noted in a technical paper
                                                commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development
                                                (USAID).


Syria: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security
Total Population                                Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change
18,300,000
                                                Rising temperatures and declining rainfall have contributed to recent
Fragile States Index                            droughts in Syria, a trend that may continue. The country underwent an
#4 out of 178                                   extended drought from about 2006 until 2011. During the drought an
                                                estimated 60 percent of Syria experienced severe crop failure, and
A lower number indicates greater instability.
                                                accompanying impacts on food security. Some studies have linked the
Human Development Index                         length and severity of the drought in Syria to climate change, as USAID
Low                                             has reported. Others, however, have pointed to government land and
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)                    water use policies, combined with the effects of climate change, as
per Capita                                      responsible for the severity of the drought. Agricultural policies, for
Not available                                   example, encouraged farmers to grow water intensive crops like wheat,
                                                and supported inefficient irrigation practices, policies which further
Remittances as % of GDP                         depleted ground water and made the region more vulnerable to
Not available                                   decreases in rainfall linked to climate change. Across the Middle East, the
                                                rising temperatures and declining rainfalls of recent decades may worsen,
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry
                                                according to the World Bank. If these trends continue, countries in the
as % of GDP
                                                Middle East, including Syria, could continue to experience periods of
Not available
                                                severe drought and reduced crop yields.
% Population in Cities
53.5
Net Migration Rate per 1000
people
-41.8


                                                Page 47                           GAO‑19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
Middle East and North Africa


Map of Syria                          Migration Trends
                                      The ongoing conflict in Syria, in which migration due to climate change
                                      may have been a contributing factor, has caused large-scale migration to
                                      neighboring countries in the Middle East and to Europe. Leading up to the
                                      civil war, prolonged drought, among other factors, had increased
                                      migration to Syrian cities. Because of the drought, in 2009, over 800,000
                                      Syrians lost their livelihoods in the agricultural sector, while nearly 1
                                      million experienced food insecurity. In 2010, an estimated 200,000 people
                                      migrated from farms in rural areas to cities, according to a UN report. The
                                      conflict in Syria, which began in 2011, has further displaced large
                                      numbers of people within the country and across the Middle East, as we
                                      have previously reported.21 At the beginning of the conflict, Syrians, as
                                                                      83


                                      well as Iraqi and Palestinian refugees who had been residing in Syria, fled
                                      mainly to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. As the conflict persisted,
                                      refugees fled in larger numbers to Turkey, with the UNHCR reporting that
                                      nearly 1 million Syrians sought protection in that country in 2015. Starting
                                      that year, a growing number of Syrians risked dangerous sea voyages to
                                      reach countries in Europe, such as Greece, Germany, and Sweden. As of
                                      June 2017, more than 5 million registered Syrian refugees were living in
                                      neighboring countries, including more than 3 million in Turkey, and more
                                      than 1 million in Lebanon.

Za’atri camp in northern Jordan       Challenges in Stability and Security
                                      Sources agree that the Syrian conflict is a significant security challenge
                                      that has resulted in large scale migration across the Middle East and to
                                      Europe. Yet the link between prolonged drought, rural to urban migration,
                                      and the current conflict in Syria is uncertain. Some academic sources
                                      argue that the increased strain on urban infrastructure and resources due
                                      to the rural to urban migration played a role in Syria’s growing instability.
                                      Others highlight the complex nature of the Syrian conflict, pointing to
                                      broader political factors that exacerbated resource scarcity and inequality.
                                      For example, as the drought intensified, the Syrian government
                                      downplayed the severity of the humanitarian crisis, as described in
                                      research cited in a technical report commissioned by USAID.22 As a          84




                                      result, appeals to the international community for emergency aid received
                                      minimal support. Combined with existing sectarian divisions, ongoing
                                      revolutions across the Middle East, and other factors, the government’s
                                      response to the drought may have contributed to the current conflict.
                                      Migration and displacement are a concern in the region, according to the
                                      Department of Defense and others. The U.S. government has provided
                                      significant humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees in the Middle
                                      East, including in Lebanon and Jordan, as we have previously reported.23                85




                                      However, a technical report commissioned by USAID has cautioned that
                                      the ongoing conflict in Syria makes it difficult to conduct research and
                                      draw conclusions related to climate, migration and conflict.24         86




                                      21
                                         GAO, Syrian Refugees: U.S. Agencies Conduct Financial Oversight Activities for
                                      Humanitarian Assistance but Should Strengthen Monitoring, GAO-18-58 (Washington,
                                      D.C.: Oct. 31, 2017).
                                      22
                                       Schuyler Null and Lauren Herzer Risi, Woodrow Wilson International Center for
                                      Scholars, USAID Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation Discussion Paper,
                                      Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World (November
                                      2016).
                                      23
                                           GAO-18-58.
                                      24
                                           Null and Risi.



                                  Page 48                                     GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                 OCEANIA
                                 The effects of climate change on Oceania, particularly rising seas, may
                                 significantly impact coastal populations and increase migration in the
                                 future, as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Intergovernmental
                                 Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have reported. Rising temperatures and
                                 declining rainfall may also contribute to lower yields from fisheries and
                                 agriculture, and a significant decrease in coral reef cover. Extreme
                                 weather events, including higher temperatures, wind, and rainfall, have
                                 already increased in number and intensity across the region. In the
                                 majority of Pacific island nations, of those who migrate, more people
                                 leave than come, according to the African, Caribbean, and Pacific
                                 Observatory on Migration. The majority of migration in the region is
                                 economically driven. In the future, climate change may further impact
                                 these migration patterns across the region, according to the IPCC.
                                 Climate change has already exacerbated challenges that aid-dependent
                                 nations in the region face, restricting livelihoods and resources and
                                 contributing to pressures to migrate. The costs of climate change,
                                 including a decline in crop yields, a rise in energy demands, and a loss of
                                 coastal land, are predicted to be significant. The ADB estimates these
                                 costs will reach 12.7 percent of the Pacific regions’ GDP by 2100.
                                 Increased migration may also impact political stability and play a role in
                                 geopolitical rivalries within the region, according to the IPCC. The effects
                                 of climate change, especially rising sea levels, may result in forced
                                 migration from the Republic of the Marshall Islands (the Marshall Islands)
                                 and have additional impacts on the U.S. defense infrastructure on the
                                 islands.


Marshall Islands: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security
Total Population                 Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change
100,000                          Rising sea levels are a grave threat to the Marshall Islands.The country
Fragile States Index             consists of islands, low-lying atolls—coral caps sitting on top of
Not Available                    submerged volcanoes—making it particularly vulnerable to rising sea
                                 levels. On average, the Marshall Islands are 2 meters above sea level. In
Human Development Index          Majuro, the country’s most populous atoll, observed rates of sea level rise
High                             are already twice as fast as the global average. Population centers
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)     experience significant flooding, with damage to roads, houses, and
per Capita                       infrastructure, especially during La Niña years, which are significantly
$3,819                           wetter and more prone to extreme rainfall. Flooding is expected to worsen
                                 with rising sea levels, with consequences for the availabity of drinking
Remittances as % of GDP          water. On Roi-Namur island, for example, a 0.4 meter rise in sea level
14.8                             combined with wave-driven flooding is predicted to make groundwater
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry   undrinkable year round as early as 2055. This salt water inundation may
as % of GDP                      contaminate already limited groundwater across the Marshall Islands.
                                 Lastly, during the 1940s and 1950s, the Marshall Islands was the site of
15.9
                                 67 U.S. nuclear weapons tests on or near Bikini and Enewetak Atolls.
% Population in Cities           Projected increases in frequency of flooding may negatively impact efforts
76.7                             to contain radioactive material stored on Runit Island.25        87



Net Migration Rate per 1000
people                           25
                                  Storlazzi, C.D., et al., 2017, The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on
Not Available                    Department of Defense Installations on Atolls in the Pacific Ocean (RC-2334): U.S.
                                 Geological Survey Administrative Report for the U.S. Department of Defense Strategic
                                 Environmental Research and Development Program.



                                 Page 49                               GAO‑19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
Oceania


Map of Marshall Islands               Migration Trends
                                      A number of factors have increased migration from the Marshall Islands,
                                      including to the United States. In 1986, the United States entered into a
                                      compact of free association with the country that allowed its citizens to
                                      migrate to the United States, as we have previously reported. As a result,
                                      more than 20,000 Marshallese now live in the United States.26 People are   88


                                      more likely to migrate abroad as the effects of climate change on the
                                      Marshall Islands—including rising sea levels—increasingly impact
                                      livelihoods.27 The threat of mass displacement and forced migration is
                                                          89


                                      also a concern, as the International Organization for Migration has
                                      reported. However, Marshallese culture has a strong connection to the
                                      land, which means that many view migration as a last resort. For people
                                      still living in the Marshall Islands, they face overpopulation in urban
                                      centers and displacement by sudden-onset disasters like cyclones and
                                      flooding. Factors influencing people deciding to move abroad include
                                      displacement, lack of economic opportunity—sometimes exacerbated by
                                      climate change—and limited access to health care. Climate change is
                                      likely to increase risks to public health in the country.28 Increased rainfall,
                                                                                                        90


                                      for instance, may expand mosquito breeding grounds, raising the risk of
                                      diseases like dengue fever. The country’s limited health care system may
                                      further contribute to migration from the islands.

Wave-driven flooding and overwash     Challenges in Stability and Security
on Roi-Namur Atoll, Republic of the
Marshall Islands                      In the future, the Marshall Islands may become uninhabitable. This
                                      prospect threatens the existence of the Marshall Islands as a sovereign
                                      state, as well as the United States defense facilities located on the
                                      islands. The total loss of land could result in the Marshall Islands being
                                      uninhabitable, which raises problems of migration, resettlement, cultural
                                      survival, and sovereignty. Relocation of the population of the Marshall
                                      Islands, and of other Pacific Island nations at risk of rising seas, could
                                      cause significant geopolitical challenges.29 The Marshall Islands are also
                                                                                         91


                                      of strategic importance for the United States. Under the Compact of Free
                                      Association, the United States has permission to use several islands—
                                      including Kwajalein Atoll, the location of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic
                                      Missile Defense Test Range—until 2066. The country’s proximity to the
                                      equator makes the Marshall Islands ideal for missile defense and space
                                      work. Yet the island’s defense infrastructure and operations are at
                                      significant risk due to rising sea levels, flooding, and diminishing supplies
                                      of potable water. As the Department of Defense has noted, climate
                                      change will have serious implications for the department’s ability to
                                      maintain its infrastructure and ensure military readiness in the future.30 92


                                      26
                                       GAO has previously reported on migration from the Marshall Islands. See GAO,
                                      Compacts of Free Association: Improvements Needed to Assess and Address Growing
                                      Migration, GAO-12-64 (Washington, D.C., November 14, 2011).
                                      27
                                       International Organization for Migration, Republic of the Marshall Islands IOM Country
                                      Strategy 2017-2020 (Delap, Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands: 2017).
                                      28
                                       Republic of the Marshall Islands, Joint National Action Plan for Climate Change
                                      Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management 2014-2018.
                                      29
                                           Storlazzi, C.D., et al., 2017.
                                      30
                                           DOD, 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (Alexandria, VA: June 2014).



                                  Page 50                                       GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                    CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
                                                    The effects of climate change on Central America and the Caribbean
                                                    may increase migration and exacerbate poverty rates, as the National
                                                    Intelligence Council has reported. The climate in Central America and the
                                                    Caribbean is predicted to be warmer and dryer. The Caribbean’s
                                                    extensive coastlines and low-lying areas are vulnerable to sea level rise
                                                    and an increase in sudden-onset disasters, including hurricanes and
                                                    storm surges. Drought is a particular concern in Central America, where
                                                    declines in rainfall have reduced crop yields and threatened livelihoods in
                                                    recent years. Some evidence shows that drought in parts of Central
                                                    America has contributed to migration north, including to the United
                                                    States. Population growth, especially in coastal cities, has increased the
                                                    number of people at risk during hurricane season, and the number and
                                                    intensity of hurricanes have grown in recent years. Some attribute the
                                                    increase in intensity to higher sea surface temperatures caused by
                                                    climate change. However, there remains debate about long term
                                                    hurricane trends. Recent hurricanes have caused displacement, and
                                                    significant losses and damages—including to infrastructure—across the
                                                    region. The depletion of coral reefs and mangrove trees, natural barriers
                                                    to coastal erosion and flooding, has exacerbated vulnerability to storms
                                                    in coastal areas. Climate change is likely to have negative impacts on
                                                    tourism in the Caribbean, where the industry is an important part of the
                                                    economy, according to Inter-American Development Bank. Climate
                                                    change impacts on the economy may make it increasingly difficult for
                                                    governments to reduce poverty and move towards environmental
                                                    sustainability. Haiti’s geography, location, and high poverty rates make
                                                    the country especially vulnerable.


Haiti: Climate Change, Migration, Stability and Security
Total Population                                     Observed and Projected Effects of Climate Change
11,000,000                                           Haiti is highly vulnerable to climate change effects, partly due to its long
Fragile States Index                                 coastline.31 Hurricanes routinely make landfall in the country, and
                                                                     1


                                                     increases in rainfall and wind speeds associated with hurricanes are likely.
#12 out of 178
                                                     Severe hurricanes, including Hurricane Matthew in September 2016, have
A lower number indicates greater instability.
                                                     hit Haiti in recent years. Hurricane Matthew was the first category 4 storm
Human Development Index                              in Haiti since 1964. Damage from severe flooding and severe winds during
Low                                                  the hurricane affected over 2 million people and created significant food
Gross Domestic Product                               security and public health challenges. Significant deforestation has further
(GDP) per Capita                                     exacerbated Haiti’s vulnerability to hurricanes, as trees previously provided
                                                     a natural barrier to the erosion that strong winds and more rainfall can
$1,653
                                                     cause. Rising temperature and highly variable rainfall have led to extreme
Remittances as % of GDP                              drought and flash flooding, according to the U.S. Agency for International
29.3                                                 Development (USAID).32 2 These trends decrease crop yields, affecting the
Agriculture, Fishing, Forestry                       livelihoods of farmers, and threaten water access. Projected increase in
as % of GDP                                          temperature and decreases in rainfall are likely to intensify drought in
                                                     Haiti’s interior.
17.6
% Population in Cities
54.3
                                                      31
                                                         International Organization for Migration, The Atlas of Environmental Migration
Net Migration Rate per 1000                           (New York: Routledge, 2017).
people                                                32
                                                           USAID, Haiti: Environment and Climate Change Fact Sheet (January 2016).
-2.9

                                                Page 51                                       GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
0B0BCentral America and the Caribbean


Map of Haiti                                  Migration Trends
                                              Slow-onset climate events, such as drought, and rising sea levels,
                                              and sudden-onset events, including earthquakes, affect Haiti,
                                              according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
                                              Haiti is also particularly exposed to extreme weather events, such
                                              as hurricanes, which can lead to displacement. In January 2010, a
                                              catastrophic earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 230,000 people
                                              and left close to 1.5 million people homeless. According to IOM,
                                              the recurrence of environmental disruptions increases risks and
                                              vulnerabilities. When Hurricane Sandy struck Haiti in October
                                              2012, the country had still not recovered from the 2010 earthquake.
                                              The worsening of climate change effects around the world,
                                              particularly in low-income countries, may increase the number of
                                              people wanting to immigrate to the United States, where
                                              approximately 700,000 Haitians live today.33 Remittances from
                                                                                                    3


                                              family members living outside Haiti make up a significant portion of
                                              the economy, at 24.7 percent of GDP. The majority of these
                                              remittances come from the United States, as we have previously
                                              reported.34 4Remittances may support resilience to climate change
                                              effects as migrants send money home for disaster recovery and
                                              adaptation.35   5




Flooding in Cité Soleil, a                    Challenges in Stability and Security
neighborhood in Port-au-Prince,
Haiti                                         Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, has
                                              experienced political instability for most of its history, and ranks
                                              12th of 178 on the Fragile States Index. The government has a low
                                              capacity to respond to additional challenges like those related to
                                              climate change, according to USAID. The Ministry of Environment,
                                              for example, is a relatively new organization within the Haitian
                                              government, and local and regional governments have a limited
                                              ability to enforce environmental laws and regulations. The United
                                              States has provided substantial aid to Haiti, both in disaster
                                              response and broader development projects. Official development
                                              assistance for Haiti in 2015, for instance, totaled slightly more than
                                              $1 billion. According to a January 2018 UN report, 2.8 million
                                              people were still in need of humanitarian assistance.




                                              33
                                               The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Haiti for Temporary
                                              Protected Status (TPS) in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, allowing eligible
                                              Haitian nationals to apply for TPS. The TPS designation for Haiti was set to expire
                                              on January 22, 2018. On November 20, 2017, DHS determined that conditions in
                                              Haiti no longer supported its designation for TPS, and decided to terminate the
                                              designation for Haiti. Subsequently, in October 2018, a federal court enjoined
                                              DHS from implementing and enforcing the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti
                                              pending further resolution of the case, an order that DHS has appealed.
                                              34
                                               GAO, Remittances To Fragile Countries: Treasury Should Assess Risks from
                                              Shifts to Non-Banking Channels, GAO-18-313 (Washington, D.C., March 8, 2018).
                                              35
                                               Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Alex de Sherbinin, Bryan Jones, Jonas Bergmann,
                                              Viviane Clement, Kayly Ober, Jacob Schewe, Susana Adamo, Brent McCusker,
                                              Silke Heuser, and Amelia Midgley. 2018. Groundswell: Preparing for Internal
                                              Climate Migration. Washington, DC: The World Bank.


                                        Page 52                                       GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Appendix III: Department of State Global    Department of State Global Climate Change
                                            Initiative Adaptation Activities Funded in Fiscal
                                            Years 2014 through 2017

Climate Change Initiative Adaptation
Activities Funded in Fiscal Years 2014
through 2017
                                            The Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International
                                            Environmental and Scientific Affairs (State/OES) provided about $78
                                            million in adaptation funding from the Global Climate Change Initiative for
                                            eight projects for fiscal years 2014 through 2017 (see table 2). 1
                                            State/OES officials said that these projects aimed to help countries
                                            prepare for the impacts of climate change, potentially reducing the
                                            pressure to migrate, but to their knowledge, none of these projects
                                            directly supported activities related to migration. The president’s budget
                                            for fiscal year 2018 did not include a request for funding for the Global
                                            Climate Change Initiative and State officials said that the agency does not
                                            plan to fund additional adaptation activities and has not requested
                                            additional funding for the activities.

Table 2: Department of State Global Climate Change Initiative Adaptation Activities Funded in Fiscal Years 2014 through 2017

Activity name        Countries in which activity               Funding        Time period       Activity description
                     occurred
Adapt Asia-Pacific Federated States of                      $2,000,000        September 2015 Implemented through the U.S. Agency
                   Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall                                 through        for International Development, this
                   Islands, Nauru, Papua New                                  November 2017 project aimed to increase human and
                   Guinea, Samoa, Solomon                                                    institutional capacity to mobilize and
                   Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and                                               leverage international climate funds to
                   Vanuatu                                                                   improve adaptation and resilience in
                                                                                             the Pacific region.
Increasing Private   Ethiopia, Niger, and Malawi              $197,530        August 2017       This project aims to enhance resilience
Investment in                                                                 through March     by increasing countries’ ability to attract
Landscape                                                                     2019              investment in forest landscape
Restoration: A                                                                                  restoration—a major pathway for
Pathway to                                                                                      achieving climate change resilience.
Enhanced                                                                                        The project will work with private sector
Resilience                                                                                      investors, project developers, small-
                                                                                                and medium-sized enterprises,
                                                                                                governments, and communities to
                                                                                                improve focal countries’ ability to
                                                                                                attract investment in adaptation.




                                            1
                                             The Global Climate Change Initiative was established in 2010 to promote resilient, low-
                                            emission development, and integrate climate change considerations into U.S. foreign
                                            assistance and was divided into three main programmatic initiatives: (1) Adaptation
                                            assistance, (2) Clean Energy assistance, and (3) Sustainable Landscapes assistance.




                                            Page 53                                     GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                               Department of State Global Climate Change
                                               Initiative Adaptation Activities Funded in Fiscal
                                               Years 2014 through 2017




Activity name          Countries in which activity                Funding        Time period       Activity description
                       occurred
Least Developed        Global                                 $51,175,000        September 2015 The primary purpose of these
Countries Fund                                                                   through August contributions to the LDCF was to
(LDCF)                                                                           2017           address the adaptation needs of the
                                                                                                least developed countries, which are
                                                                                                especially vulnerable to the adverse
                                                                                                impacts of climate change. The LDCF
                                                                                                financed the preparation and
                                                                                                implementation of National Adaptation
                                                                                                Programs of Action, which identify a
                                                                                                country’s priorities for adaptation
                                                                                                actions.
National               Albania, Belize, Benin,                 $4,000,000        September 2015 Initial grant to the National Adaptation
Adaptation Plans       Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia,                               through 2020   Plans Global Network. The network is
Global Network,        Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire,                                                 focused on increasing the capacity of
Initial Grant          Dominica, Ethiopia, Fiji,                                                national and subnational governments
                       Ghana, Grenada, Guinea,                                                  to identify and assess climate risks,
                       Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya,                                                  integrate these risk considerations in
                       Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar,                                           sector planning, develop a pipeline of
                       Malawi, Mexico, Morocco,                                                 projects to address risks, identify and
                       Nepal, Peru, Philippines,                                                secure funding for projects, and track
                       Samoa, Senegal, Sierra                                                   progress toward resilience targets.
                       Leone, Saint Lucia, Saint
                       Vincent and the Grenadines,
                       South Africa, Suriname,
                       Tanzania, Thailand, Togo,
                       Uganda, and Vanuatu
National               Colombia, East Caribbean                $5,900,000        July 2016         The cost amendment intensified the
Adaptation Plans       (Guyana, Saint Lucia, Saint                               through 2020      technical support on National
Global Network,        Vincent and the Grenadines),                                                Adaptation Plans to select countries
U.S. in-country        Ethiopia, Peru, South Africa,                                               dependent upon specific country
programs, Grant        Uganda, West Africa (Côte                                                   adaption needs. In addition, the cost
Cost Amendment         d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea,                                                    amendment continued the learning and
                       Sierra Leone, Togo) and,                                                    progress from the initial grant.
                       under current consideration,
                       East Caribbean (Dominica,
                       Suriname), and Pacific (Fiji,
                       Kiribati, Tuvalu)
Pacific                Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati,           $8,000,000        September 2016 Implemented through the Department
Catastrophe Risk       Marshall Islands, Federated                               through        of Treasury, this funding supported a
Assessment and         States of Micronesia, Nauru,                              September 2017 Treasury grant to the Pacific
Financing Initiative   Niue, Palau, Papua New                                                   Catastrophe Risk Assessment and
                       Guinea, Samoa, Solomon                                                   Financing Initiative Multi Donor Trust
                       Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and                                              Fund at the World Bank. This activity
                       Vanuatu                                                                  established the Pacific Catastrophe
                                                                                                Risk Insurance Foundation and the
                                                                                                Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance
                                                                                                Company, among other things.




                                               Page 54                                     GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
                                                                  Department of State Global Climate Change
                                                                  Initiative Adaptation Activities Funded in Fiscal
                                                                  Years 2014 through 2017




Activity name                 Countries in which activity                                   Funding             Time period                Activity description
                              occurred
Private Investment Bangladesh, Ghana, Guyana,                                           $5,382,715              September 2017 The goal of PIER is to increase private
for Enhanced       Indonesia, Mozambique,                                                                       through        sector investment in resilience to
Resilience (PIER) Peru, Tanzania, and Vietnam                                                                   September 2020 climate change in eight developing
                                                                                                                               countries. The first phase of the project
                                                                                                                               will assess and identify opportunities
                                                                                                                               for private investment in resilience, as
                                                                                                                               well as build public and private
                                                                                                                               capacity for climate risk assessment in
                                                                                                                               all the countries. In the second phase,
                                                                                                                               public and private sector partners will
                                                                                                                               develop and pilot climate risk-reduction
                                                                                                                               investment models in four of the
                                                                                                                               countries. The third phase will publicize
                                                                                                                               the piloted investment models and
                                                                                                                               lessons learned among the eight
                                                                                                                               countries.
U.S.-India         India                                                                $1,150,000              September 2015 Implemented through the National
Partnership for                                                                                                 through        Oceanic and Atmospheric
Climate Resilience                                                                                              September 2019 Administration, this activity aims to
                                                                                                                               implement a capacity-building
                                                                                                                               partnership with India to promote
                                                                                                                               effective climate resilient decision
                                                                                                                               making at national, state, and local
                                                                                                                               levels.
Source: GAO analysis of Department of State project information from the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. | GAO-19-166




                                                                  Page 55                                                    GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Appendix IV: Comments from the
             Comments from the Department of State




Department of State




             Page 56                                 GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Comments from the Department of State




Page 57                                 GAO‑19-166 Climate Change and Global Migration
Appendix V: Comments from the U.S.
                  Comments from the U.S. Agency for
                  International Development



Agency for International Development




              Page 58                                 GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
    Comments from the U.S. Agency for
    International Development




Page 59                                 GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
    Comments from the U.S. Agency for
    International Development




Page 60                                 GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
    Comments from the U.S. Agency for
    International Development




Page 61                                 GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
Appendix VI: GAO Contact and Staff
                       Related GAO Products




Acknowledgments


                       David Gootnick, (202) 512-3149 or GootnickD@gao.gov and Brian
GAO Contacts           Lepore, (202) 512-4523 or LeporeB@gao.gov


                       In addition to the contacts named above, the following individuals made
Acknowledgments        key contributions to this report: Miriam Carroll Fenton (Assistant Director),
                       Kristy Williams (Assistant Director), Rachel Girshick (Analyst-in-Charge),
                       Nancy Santucci, Miranda Cohen, Aldo Salerno, Neil Doherty, and Judith
                       Williams. Alexander Welsh, Justin Fisher, and Joseph Thompson
                       provided technical and other support.




                  Page 62                             GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
Related GAO Products
                Related GAO Products




                Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation
                into Planning and Collaboration at Overseas Installations. GAO-18-206.
                Washington, D.C.: November 13, 2017.

                Compacts Of Free Association: Actions Needed to Prepare for The
                Transition of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands to Trust Fund Income.
                GAO-18-415. Washington, D.C.: May 17, 2018.

                Remittances to Fragile Countries: Treasury Should Assess Risks from
                Shifts to Non-Banking Channels. GAO-18-313. Washington, D.C.: March
                8, 2018.

                Syrian Refugees: U.S. Agencies Conduct Financial Oversight Activities
                for Humanitarian Assistance but Should Strengthen Monitoring.
                GAO-18-58. Washington, D.C.: October 31, 2017.

                International Food Assistance: Agencies Should Ensure Timely
                Documentation of Required Market Analyses and Assess Local Markets
                for Program Effects. GAO-17-640. Washington, D.C.: July 13, 2017.

                High-Risk Series: Progress on Many High-Risk Areas, While Substantial
                Efforts Needed on Others. GAO-17-317. Washington, D.C.: February 15,
                2017.

                Federal Disaster Assistance: Federal Departments and Agencies
                Obligated at Least $277.6 Billion during Fiscal Years 2005 through 2014.
                GAO-16-797. Washington, D.C.: September 22, 2016.

                Coast Guard: Arctic Strategy Is Underway, but Agency Could Better
                Assess How Its Actions Mitigate Known Arctic Capability Gaps.
                GAO-16-453. Washington, D.C.: July 12, 2016.

                Climate Information: A National System Could Help Federal, State, Local,
                and Private Sector Decision Makers Use Climate Information.
                GAO-16-37. Washington, D.C.: November 23, 2015.

                Hurricane Sandy: An Investment Strategy Could Help the Federal
                Government Enhance National Resilience for Future Disasters.
                GAO-15-515. Washington, D.C.: July 30, 2015.

                High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-15-290. Washington, D.C.: February
                11, 2015.



           Page 63                            GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
                Related GAO Products




                Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government. GAO-14-704G.
                Washington, D.C.: September 10, 2014.

                Combating Terrorism: U.S. Efforts in Northwest Africa Would Be
                Strengthened by Enhanced Program Management. GAO-14-518.
                Washington, D.C.: June 24, 2014.

                Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning
                and Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts. GAO-14-446.
                Washington, D.C.: May 30, 2014.

                Extreme Weather Events: Limiting Federal Fiscal Exposure and
                Increasing the Nation’s Resilience. GAO-14-364T. Washington, D.C.:
                February 12, 2014.

                Climate Change: State Should Further Improve Its Reporting on Financial
                Support to Developing Countries to Meet Future Requirements and
                Guidelines. GAO-13-829. Washington, D.C.: September 19, 2013.

                High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-13-283. Washington, D.C.: February
                14, 2013.

                International Climate Change Assessments: Federal Agencies Should
                Improve Reporting and Oversight of U.S. Funding. GAO-12-43.
                Washington, D.C.: November 17, 2011.

                Climate Change Adaptation: Federal Efforts to Provide Information Could
                Help Government Decision Making. GAO-12-238T. Washington, D.C.:
                November 16, 2011.

                Foreign Relation: Kwajalein Atoll Is the Key U.S. Defense Interest in Two
                Micronesian Nations, GAO-02-119. Washington D.C.: January 22, 2002.




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           Page 64                            GAO-19-166 Climate Change as a Driver of Migration
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