Climate change will bring about significant changes in migration dynamics and patterns, especially in Asia. Disasters remained the leading trigger of internal displacements globally, with 9.8 million people displaced in the first half of 2020. Most of the disaster displacements were a result of tropical storms and monsoon rains in South and South East Asia and the Pacific, making Asian countries and populations particularly vulnerable to climate change and environmental degradation of both sudden and slow onset characteristics. In 2020, five countries accounted for 75 per cent of new internal displacement, four of them in Asia.
While climate change is rarely a direct trigger for movement, it intensifies the consequences of underlying environmental, social and political factors that reduce resilience, increase risks of displacement and encourage people to move elsewhere. Climate change will exacerbate existing pressures on people in already vulnerable situations – for example, in subsistence agriculture and fishing – to migrate within their countries or internationally, and to experience exploitation through accumulative debt linked to reduced yields and failed crops.
Migration sparked by climate change also impacts businesses and supply chains as businesses rely on seasonal workers to satisfy production demands. While businesses are increasingly aware of issues in their supply chains linked to migrant worker vulnerabilities, it remains to be clarified what the responsibilities of the private sector are.