The overall objective of this research is to better understand how environmental and climate change impact international labour migration and vulnerabilities experienced by migrant workers in Asia and to unpack the role that the private sector plays in addressing or reinforcing these vulnerabilities.
Asia is the most disaster-prone area in the world and one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change. This is not only due to its geographic exposure to these risks, but also to its underlying sociopolitical and economic vulnerabilities that turn hazards into disasters. While migration in the context of environmental and climate change is often seen as a failure to adapt in situ, migration has long constituted a key livelihood diversification and adaptation strategy. However, migrants often enter migration routes from vulnerable positions impacting the left-behind families as well as the migrants. Businesses strongly impact human and labour rights of migrant workers, their families and communities. These can be positive – through access to employment – or negative, such as through pollution, unethical recruitment of workers or forcibly evicting communities.
Despite progress in the understanding of the links between disasters and modern slavery as well as on the links between socio-environmentally damaging corporate practices and forced migration, there is no coherent research that links environmental change at origin with human trafficking and forced labour at destination across international labour migration corridors. This is particularly important to understand how specific industries can alleviate the vulnerabilities that migrant workers experience in both origin and destination.
The aim of the study is to inform businesses and states on the measures needed to make international labour migration in selected corridors a successful adaptive strategy to climate change and environmental degradation. This study builds on ongoing policy and research efforts around climate change and migration and will contribute to the following key policy agendas: the Paris Agreement and its Task Force on Displacement; the Platform on Disaster Displacement, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
This project is under the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) CREST programme, a regional initiative that aims to realize the potential of business to uphold the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their operations and supply chains.
To learn more about CREST, please visit https://crest.iom.int.