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COP26: Anti-Slavery organisations call for COP26 to address climate change and modern slavery


COP26: Anti-Slavery organisations call for COP26 to address climate change and modern slavery

As COP26 unites world leaders to discuss climate action, we know that climate change is set to exacerbate already existing vulnerabilities to modern slavery. Therefore to tackle climate change, we must also tackle modern slavery.


s world leaders come together at COP26 to discuss how we can accelerate climate action, IJM UK, together with Anti-Slavery International and other anti-slavery organisations, have signed a letter to Alok Sharma MP calling for COP26 to address climate change and modern slavery.

IJM has co-signed a joint letter calling for COP26 to address climate change and modern slavery.

More than 50 organisations have signed on to the letter, which explains:

‘Evidence shows that climate change impacts are already increasing vulnerability to modern slavery. While several overlapping socio-economic, political, cultural and institutional risks shape vulnerability, they are increasingly evidenced to be made worse by climate change impacts and environmental degradation.

Forced labour is also often found in climate destructive industries. In many parts of the world, development models based on resource extraction and export-oriented agribusiness are worsening vulnerability to exploitation and modern slavery by monopolising land and resources, polluting the soil, air and water, destroying ecosystems, and driving displacement.

In addition, low-income countries are exposed to some of the most severe climate impacts, and have the least capacity to adapt and find it hardest to recover from the loss and damage caused by devastating floods, droughts, heatwaves, cyclones, and rising sea levels. In many cases these conditions lead to people being forced to migrate and leave the lands or the jobs that can no longer provide them with a living. In an increasing number of cases this makes them open to exploitation, trafficking and modern slavery.

The World Bank predicts that as many as 143 million people will migrate within their own borders in just three regions of the world by 2050 unless action is taken to address climate change.

30.1 million weather-related displacements took place in 2020, including 9.8 million affecting children according to IDMC and UNICEF UK. An integrated social, economic, and environmental response is needed that builds the resilience of vulnerable populations to climate impacts and modern slavery together.’

The letter recommends that governments should recognise the links between climate induced migration and modern slavery, that they should track climate-induced migration, include climate-induced risks of modern slavery in the tracking of displacement, and provide decent work for all workers in the renewable energy sector through a Just Transition plan.

At IJM UK, we support the call that: ‘COP26 must deliver on the vision of a global, just and transformational recovery that integrates, defends and expands human rights; and reduces inequality by prioritising the needs of the most affected, marginalised and discriminated people.’

You can read the letter here.

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