Jul 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House: Climate among "root causes" of migration

The planet Earth with sandbags around it.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The new White House strategy for improving conditions in Central America to slow migration includes helping to build resilience to climate change.

Why it matters: Climate change is increasingly understood as one of many drivers of human displacement, both within and across borders, due to flooding and other extreme weather, effects on food security and more.

Driving the news: The plan unveiled Thursday offers broadly worded policy goals around bettering economic prospects, rooting out corruption, lowering gang violence, improving human and labor rights, and more.

  • It describes climate change as a force worsening existing conditions. "Weather shocks due to climate change contribute to growing poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity," the strategy states.

What's next: Part of the plan calls for partnering with governments, development banks and other parties to help spur farming practices that better respond to climate change and extreme weather.

  • One "medium term" goal is working with partners to "reinforce national and regional preparedness and disaster response capabilities and implement programs to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change."

Quick take: The document is short on details, so it's hard to say what effect the efforts will have.

  • But it's a sign that policymakers increasingly recognize the ripple effects of climate change on immigration policy and other strategic and human rights areas.

Go deeper: Wanted: A U.S. climate migration policy

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