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Integration of human mobility due to environmental and climate reasons in Ecuador's National Plan for Climate Change Adaptation

Primary GCM Objectives

Secondary GCM Objectives


GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


2020 - Present

Type of practice

Policy (including law, public measure)

Geographic scope



Sub Regions:


IOM Ecuador, aware of the global discussion on the relationship between human mobility, the environment, climate change and its implications, considered it necessary to explore the relevance of this relationship at the national level. Considering this, it designed spaces for dialogue and engagement with the leading entities in environmental public policy (Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition – MAATE for its initials in Spanish) and risk management (Secretariat of Risk Management – SGR for its initials in Spanish) in order to explore interests and priorities regarding the topic. Thus, during the 2020-2023 period, IOM held bilateral meetings and a national capacity workshop on "Climate Change, Migration and the Environment", which addressed concepts, approaches, types of mobility, data and trends. These spaces made it possible to find common points of interest, which in turn led to the management of Inter-institutional Cooperation Agreements with the Secretariat for Risk Management and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition (in process). Moreover, the approach to the SGR allowed IOM to access information on loss and damage from hydrometeorological events and their impact on human mobility. In addition, the approach to MAATE made it possible to influence public adaptation policy, through the development of a chapter on Human Mobility and Climate Change. This chapter is part of the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change, a public policy instrument led by MAATE. The chapter places on the public agenda the importance of managing human mobility associated with climate change, with the aim of facilitating the movement of people exposed to climate threats and/or reducing the vulnerability of the population in these types of migrations and displacements. The chapter is available at the following link: For the implementation of this objective, the Chapter prioritizes three areas and lines of action: information generation, capacity building, and financing. Likewise, projects that are framed within these priorities are proposed, and goals and indicators for the period 2023-2027 are defined.


Main Implementing Organization(s)

Government of Ecuador

Detailed Information

Ministerio de Ambiente, Agua y Transición Ecológica (MAATE) (Ministry of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition)

Partner/Donor Organizations

International Organization for Migration - IOM
Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos

Benefit and Impact

The chapter has established the basis for addressing the relationship between human mobility, the environment, and climate change, providing a framework for the development of public policies aimed at understanding and managing environmental and climate-related human mobility, defining specific actions for their governance.

In order to create this chapter, close collaboration was carried out with national public policy entities in the environmental and risk management sectors. Working closely with MAATE, priorities for action regarding human mobility and climate change were aligned within adaptation priorities. With the Secretariat of Risk Management, sources of information on hydrometeorological events that highlight internal displacements due to climatic reasons were identified. The experience and track record of IOM in addressing human rights approaches, risk management, and the environment in the context of human mobility have generated interest from MAATE and SGR, especially in designing methodologies, tools, and information to implement the National Adaptation Plan and explore the incorporation of a human mobility approach into national risk and human mobility policies.

These mechanisms of public policy will strengthen evidence on migration, environment, and climate change, continuing to expand competencies in the design and implementation of environmental and climate-related human mobility policies. As part of this, the initial lines of action for human mobility and climate change in the National Adaptation Plan are going to be incorporated into a cycle of public policy and, as such, should be implemented, evaluated, and updated. Their initial implementation period spans from 2023 to 2027.

Furthermore, within the framework of the Chapter and its priorities, IOM established the Working Group on Human Mobility, Environment, and Climate Change, constituted by public and private institutions, with the aim of influencing the national public agenda to facilitate the movement of people exposed to environmental and climate threats and reduce the vulnerability of the population in these processes.

This experience succeeded in placing environmental migration on the agenda while showcasing IOM's capabilities through studies, systems, and institutional information tools useful for exploring the relationship between human mobility and climate change.

Key Lessons

• The main challenge in developing the chapter was the coordination with MAATE in terms of time, scope, and content. Indeed, the time available for formulating the chapter was limited, and the scope and structure of the plan had been determined through a prior institutional resolution, making it almost impossible to broadly incorporate the theme of migration, environment, and climate change. These challenges were overcome by adapting to the Ministry's guidelines, with a determination to incorporate human mobility through addressing losses and damages.
• Furthermore, it was crucial to articulate and highlight the potential of the information generated by the Secretariat of Risk Management regarding the impact of hydrometeorological events associated with climate change. This approach and information contributed to understanding climate mobility as part of the adaptation agenda.
• Having expert advice at all stages of chapter formulation was essential. Specially, consultations were made with specialized officials from SGR, MAATE, and IOM.
• To facilitate the monitoring of challenges and lessons learned from the chapter, a dedicated monitoring section was incorporated, promoting the development of research and evidence on the link between climate change and human mobility up to 2027.
• The Working Group on Human Mobility and Climate Change has become a highly valuable space for coordinating perspectives, interests, information, and capabilities regarding the management of climate-related human mobility. This has allowed the topic to be placed on the public agenda and coordinated competencies to facilitate the movement of people exposed to climate threats and reduce the vulnerability of the population in these processes.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

• When implementing this type of initiative, it is important to bring the management of human mobility in the context of climate change to the public agenda, which involves creating spaces for discussion. It is also recommended to identify relevant quantitative and qualitative information, both internal and from related stakeholders. Understanding the public policy instruments of relevant actors in areas such as environment, human mobility, risk management, inclusion, territorial planning, etc. is also advised.
• Additionally, having expert guidance throughout the implementation process is highly beneficial.
• Working with the involved stakeholders requires institutional cooperation mechanisms that facilitate information management, technical assistance, and coordination spaces in formulating public policy for human mobility in the context of climate change. Furthermore, political willingness to address climate mobility within public policy instruments is necessary.
• It's important to highlight the need for the involvement of higher education institutions in designing public policy instruments, particularly by generating evidence of the link between human mobility and climate change within sustainable development planning processes.


The innovative component is related to the incorporation of a specific approach that illuminates on challenges, allowing for the development of new scenarios of solutions. Through the Chapter, the approach to understanding the impacts of climate change on populations was broadened. It highlighted the potential condition of human mobility, whether internal or cross-border, temporary or permanent, for populations exposed to climate threats. This way, human mobility due to environmental and climate change as well as disasters has entered the public agenda becoming a subject of scrutiny and monitoring by public actors, private entities, academia, and civil society.
In addition, the establishment of the Working Group on Human Mobility and Climate Change is an innovative practice that has gathered the interest of public institutions, academia, and international cooperation in discussing the challenges of human mobility due to climate change in the country. This includes understanding approaches, information mechanisms, and influencing the design and implementation of public policy.

Date submitted:

12 January 2024

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.



*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).