From: IOL
Published June 4, 2008 09:27 AM

Climate change causes forced migration

Johannesburg - Forced migration is to be discussed at a two-day Climate Change Summit starting on Monday, hosted by the City of Johannesburg in partnership with the SA Local Government Association.

"The issue of the link between the way climate change will impact on Africa and the political implications thereof is a burning one.

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"The ongoing xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa have prompted even further need for the urgency of this special session to look at climate change and forced migration," the City and Salga said in a joint statement.

"As the pressures on food and water security increase as a result of the impacts of climate change, provision needs to be made for the influx of migrants into South Africa. This is one of the most crucial governance needs."

People migrated to other countries for a number of reasons, not only because of political instability in their home countries.

Food security was one such reason, often brought about by climate change factors such as famine, floods and natural disasters.

"In 1990 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that the greatest single impact of climate change might be on human migration."

Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo, who is also chairperson of Salga, said the City had established a migrant helpdesk to provide legal migrants and asylum seekers with information on basic services such as housing, education and healthcare in the city.

"It is important that South African cities and government are equipped and have strategies in place to be able to manage the influx of migrants," Masondo said.

Topics to be discussed at summit include the role of cities as magnets for migrants in the context of climate change. - Sapa

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