The Impact of Climate Change on Conflict and Migration

Climate change is undeniably one of the most pressing global challenges of our time, significantly influencing various facets of human existence. Among these, the effects of climate change on conflict and migration stand out as particularly concerning. This article delves into how climate change is exacerbating conflicts and driving migration worldwide — with a particular focus on forced migration — and explores the intricate ways in which environmental changes contribute to displacement and strife.

Climate Change and Conflict: A Deepening Nexus

The notion that climate change conflict exists is supported by increasing evidence demonstrating how environmental degradation can lay the groundwork for conflict and also be a result of conflict. Climate change and conflict in Syria is a prime example, where prolonged droughts and water scarcity aggravated social tensions, contributing to the outbreak of civil war. Situations like this illustrate a broader pattern where climate change exacerbates conflict, particularly in regions already vulnerable to social, economic, and political instability.

So, does climate change cause conflict? While not the sole cause, it acts as a threat multiplier, intensifying existing grievances and competition over dwindling natural resources.

In areas plagued by water scarcity, such as Palestine, the struggle for access to essential resources can heighten tensions. The water crisis in Palestine underscores the potential for environmental factors to fuel discord. 

Forced Migration: Climate Change’s Dire Consequence

The impacts of climate change on migration and displacement are profound and far-reaching. As habitats become uninhabitable due to extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and desertification, millions are forced to leave their homes. This phenomenon — known as climate migration or climate displacement — is a growing crisis. The World Bank projects that by 2050, there could be more than 216 million internal climate migrants across Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, North Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The ways humans might migrate or adapt to climate change vary, but the choices are often stark, especially for those in less developed countries. Migration becomes a survival strategy, a response to the loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, and the deterioration of living conditions.

Climate change and migration are interconnected, with the former increasingly driving the latter. This dynamic is evident in the climate change and human migration trends observed globally. For instance, the Pacific Islands face existential threats from rising sea levels, which is already impacting migration flows as residents seek safer grounds.

Humanitarian Concerns and the Path Forward

The challenges of migration and climate change also bring to light serious humanitarian concerns. Refugees and displaced persons often face dire conditions in camps, with significant health problems and dangers. Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach, combining climate action with efforts to mitigate conflict and support displaced populations.

To truly grasp the effects of climate change, one must also consider its impact on basic utilities, such as electricity. In Gaza, for example, the electricity crisis has compounded the challenges faced by residents, illustrating how environmental issues can exacerbate living conditions in conflict-affected areas.

The relationship between climate change, conflict, and migration is complex and multifaceted. As climate change effects become increasingly evident, the need for comprehensive strategies that address the root causes of conflict and support vulnerable populations in adapting to changing conditions has never been more critical. The global community must work collaboratively to mitigate these challenges, ensuring a sustainable and peaceful future for all.

Help Provide Urgent Humanitarian Care for Gaza's Children


Amidst the unfolding crisis in Gaza, over one million children hang in the balance, and Palestine Children's Relief Fund teams are on the ground, working tirelessly to provide urgent aid. With a legacy of over 30 years marked by unwavering dedication and expertise, PCRF is the primary humanitarian organization in Palestine, delivering crucial and life-saving medical relief and humanitarian aid where it is needed most. Access to essential resources like food, clean water, and healthcare is severely limited. Urgent action is needed to prevent a greater humanitarian catastrophe. With your support, we can continue this vital work, ensuring that the over one million children of Gaza receive the urgent care they need and deserve. Please consider making a donation to help children in Gaza today!

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) continues to provide humanitarian aid and medical relief to children and their families — some of whom are refugees fleeing their home countries — through our pediatric cancer departments, humanitarian aid programs and projects, hospital infrastructure projects, orphan and refugee sponsorships, medical sponsorships, treatment abroad program, and medical missions. These efforts help to ensure that children in need get the vital assistance they require.

PCRF has a committee of volunteer doctors and specialists on our Medical Advisory Board who are dedicated to building up services through training, programs, and guiding PCRF to improve the quality of pediatric care in Palestine, Lebanon, and other areas in the Middle East.

PCRF is not a political or religious organization. Our mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, politics, or religion. We rely on charitable giving to provide medical treatment, surgeries, safety, shelter, and support to children and their families in Palestine and the Levant. Find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in children’s lives today!