Initiative Result:

Enhancing protection and climate resilience for millions

A new CGIAR-UNHCR partnership is enhancing protection, resilience, and long-term climate solutions for millions of refugees, displaced people, and host communities.

CGIAR/FCM has forged a new partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). CGIAR/FCM researchers provide evidence, data, and insights to support UNHCR’s work to mitigate the vulnerability of 110 million refugees, displaced people, and their hosts and to potentially influence policies in 135 countries. Notably, CGIAR/FCM helped inform UNHCR’s new Strategic Plan for Climate Action, provided evidence to optimize ongoing humanitarian assistance, developed analyses needed to build enabling policies and secure funding, and raised awareness internally and externally.

Some 70 percent of people internally displaced by conflict, 60 percent of stateless people, and 30 percent of refugees live in fragile or conflict-affected countries that are among the most vulnerable to climate change. The double burden of climate and conflict risks means that refugees, and their hosts, urgently need adequate protection, services, resources, and solutions to support their longterm livelihoods and build Climate Resilience. It is in this context that CGIAR, through its Fragility, Conflict, and Migration (FCM) Initiative, has forged a new partnership with the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In 2023, CGIAR/FCM’s research helped inform UNHCR’s new Focus Area Strategic Plan for Climate Action to guide the agency’s efforts
to enhance protection, resilience, and long-term climate solutions for displaced communities and their hosts. CGIAR/FCM provided displacement-specific climate information, including maps showing where forcibly displaced and stateless persons are exposed to climate risks. The maps reveal that a majority of displaced persons are residing in the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, and CGIAR/FCM’s projections toward 2030 indicate that climate hazards will increase, highlighting the critical need for effective governance.

Challenges vary widely between regions, and compound events add complexity. UNHCR’s Regional Climate Action Plan for the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes (EHAGL), one of the seven regional plans that CGIAR/FCM evidence has helped develop, identifies the region as one of the most vulnerable to climate change globally. The urgency of the EHAGL action plan is underscored by CGIAR analyses predicting that the frequent co-occurrence of resource conflicts and climate hazards are likely to lead to more inter-communal conflicts.

CGIAR/FCM is providing data and evidence to inform UNHCR’s ongoing humanitarian assistance. CGIAR/FCM researchers are, for example:
• Evaluating the agency’s climate-resilient shelters initiative in Mozambique, looking to answer whether and how it can better contribute to residents’ long-term resilience, livelihoods, and security.
• Developing research-based recommendations for what type of policy and finance support can improve refugee and host community resilience in Jordan.
• Proposing long-term water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions for communities that host refugees and displaced people in Ethiopia and Nigeria. This includes analysis on water security and water management issues in the Somali Region of Ethiopia to provide direct support to the implementation of
the Melkadida Refugee Compact and the integration of water issues into the regional anticipatory action strategy.

CGIAR/FCM is also sharing the evidence and insights needed to build enabling policies and secure funding for the climate action agenda of UNHCR and its country partners. For example, in Guatemala, where national policies largely fail to consider the interlinked issues of displacement, conflict, and climate, a forthcoming, joint CGIARUNHCR policy brief is set to recommend that national climate policies are designed to alleviate risks and  vulnerabilities linked with displacement, and that climate finance mechanisms are set up to work for displaced persons.

Raising awareness of the challenges facing refugees and displaced people has been a priority for UNHCR. CGIAR/FCM researchers have hosted  brown-bag-lunch events for more than 180 agency staffers, presenting evidence on the links between climate change, human security, and displacement. CGIAR/FCM and UNHCR have collaborated on events, including at the Africa Climate Week, the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), and the Global Refugee Forum.

Cementing its commitment to advancing climate solutions for refugees and displaced people, CGIAR/FCM joined the 2023 Global Refugee Forum multi-stakeholder pledge on climate action and finance under the Global Compact on Refugees. In this pledge, UNHCR, CGIAR/FCM, and other partners commit to strengthening the protection, preparedness, and resilience of refugees, other forcibly displaced and stateless people, and their host communities to climate impacts now and in the future. CGIAR and UNHCR are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, formalizing the working
partnership between the two institutions, in 2024.

Our partnership with CGIAR, and the data and analysis it generates, is an essential element for ensuring better protection of displaced people. Rather than waiting for disaster to strike, we are better positioned than ever to enable anticipatory approaches, climate-smart programming, enhancing preparedness, and ensuring the efficient allocation of resources.

Andrew Harper, Special Advisor to the High Commissioner for Refugees on Climate Action.

Header photo: Refugees, internally displaced and host community join forces on market garden project. UNHCR.

CGIAR Centers

Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT; International Water Management Institute (IWMI).


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)