The Resolution of the Council of Europe on “Climate Refugees”

In October 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a non-binding resolution on A legal status for “climate refugees”.

The Resolution affirms that the obligation to protect internally displaced persons lies under the responsibility of Member States and should represent the first level of legal protection in their legislation. Furthermore, the Resolution considers actions that Member States should put in place to manage ‘climate migration’. In this respect, reference is made to the promotion of European development cooperation programmes, funded by the Member States, to support the proper implementation of mechanisms protecting human mobility following environment-related disasters of climate change (e.g. the Kampala Convention).

Moreover, the Resolution urges Member States to pass municipal law reforms recognising the temporary residence status to natural disasters victims having a different nationality. Acknowledging the protection gap of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, the Resolution requires Member States to develop in their asylum protection mechanisms for people fleeing from long-term climate change in their native countries.