The worsening impacts of climate change could force more than 140 million people to migrate within countries by 2050.
The World Bank warns it would affect three densely populated regions – Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America – creating a “looming human crisis” and threatening the development process.
Its new report found unless urgent climate and development action is taken globally and nationally, these three regions together could be dealing with 143 million “internal climate migrants” over the next three decades.
These people would be forced to move from increasingly non-viable areas of their countries due to growing problems like water scarcity, crop failure, sea-level rise and storm surges.
With concerted action, including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning, the World Bank says the worst-case scenario could be reduced by as much as 80% – or more than 100 million people.
Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Team Leader of the report said: “Without the right planning and support, people migrating from rural areas into cities could be facing new and even more dangerous risks.
“We could see increased tensions and conflict as a result of pressure on scarce resources. But that doesn’t have to be the future. While internal climate migration is becoming a reality, it won’t be a crisis if we plan for it now.”