Heads of state and government across Africa recognized the need to develop strategies to mitigate climate change and allow the continent to adapt to the already noticeable effects. But the revision of the 1951 UN Convention or the ratification of a brand new treaty to include climate migrants could take years. Multilateral institutions, development agencies and international law need to do much more to address the challenges posed by climate change (early efforts, such as the World Bank`s 2010 Global Development Report on Climate Change7, had few constraints at a time when few thought a climate crisis was imminent). In addition, there is no multilateral strategy or legal framework to take climate change into account as a driver of migration. Whether it is limited access to clean water, food shortages, agricultural degradation or violent conflicts8, climate change will exacerbate these challenges and be an important incentive in human migration patterns. As countries around the world decide how to deal with the influx of climate migrants, the most vulnerable nations, many in the Caribbean, are already taking proactive action to combat the effects of climate change. Heads of state and government around the world are increasingly in a hurry to take serious action to combat climate change in order to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The recent UN ruling is a step towards improving the lives of those most affected by climate change. The pioneering ruling of the UN Commission on Human Rights has highlighted that «without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in host countries can expose individuals to violations of their rights… to trigger the non-refoulement obligations of the sending states. Under the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, a refugee is defined as a person who has crossed an international border «because of a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a certain social group or political opinion.» Some wonder, however, whether the international convention developed more than 60 years ago is too limited.
In 2015, Teitiota sought New Zealand`s protection after claiming that his life and that of his family members were at risk due to the effects of climate change and rising sea levels. Research shows that the Earth`s climate is changing at a rate that has exceeded most scientific predictions. Some families and communities are already suffering from disasters and the consequences of climate change that have forced them to leave their homes in search of a fresh start.