Countries vulnerable to extreme weather and rising seas should follow the example of small Pacific island states like Kiribati, and work out how to relocate threatened communities if there is no alternative, experts said at U.N. climate talks in Lima.
"We now know that climate change is a driver of migration, and is expected to increase the displacement of populations," said Mary Robinson, U.N. special envoy for climate change.
"This is an issue that doesn't get enough discussion," the former Irish president told an event alongside the negotiations. It is a problem that needs new solutions, she added.
Since 2008, an average of 27 million people each year have been forced by disasters to leave their homes, with the risk of this kind of displacement estimated to have doubled in the past 40 years, according to the Nansen Initiative, which is helping states figure out how to protect those who cross borders.
Walter Kaelin, a human rights lawyer and envoy for the Nansen Initiative, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the issues of displacement and human mobility must be reflected in a new global climate change pact, due to be agreed in a year's time in Paris.
"It has to be there - because only then will human mobility be integrated into climate change adaptation plans, only then will access to funding that is necessary for some countries be enshrined in the (agreement)," he said.
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