Written by Euronews

As the UNHCR resumed its meeting on April. 5, the committee was divided on how to move forward on whether or not to define climate refugee. As the world grapples with the impact of climate change, the committee is trying to find ways to help those who are being displaced by climate change, namely rising sea levels.

Those people are being labeled as climate refugees, but not everyone agrees on putting them in legal framework. Under international law, refugees can claim asylum if they are fleeing from war or persecution. Including climate change as a factor for asylum claim would change refugee intakes for nations across the world.

“The committee is divided on two routes,” said the delegate from Nepal. “One, how to deal with the issue,”

The issue at hand is how to help nations deal with the influx of climate refugees through infrastructure investment, funds for developing and Pacific Island nations, and subsidies for renewable energy sector.

The Moroccan delegate was especially enthusiastic about focusing on renewable energy.

“We need economic return for green growth. That means getting rid of subsidies from oil companies and giving it to renewable energy,” said the delegate. “We need to make plans for our country!”

Venezuelan delegate responded back. “We need a refugee first solution,” said the delegate as delegates from Fiji and Congo snapped their fingers.  “There is no international framework on climate refugees.”

Working groups are being formed, such as the one being led by Morocco and Russia. The US is also trying to form a working group with their proposal titled, Plan RISE. However, this proposal has raised some eyebrows because of its pro-refugee stance.

“It seems very out of character,” remarked the delegate from Nepal. He seemed puzzled by the delegates sudden departure from their own government. He still had hope that the committee would find a common ground and come up with a comprehensive solution to climate refugees.

“There are other better policies out there besides RISE.”