According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an average of 22.5 million people were displaced by climate or weather-related events between 2000-2018. And the numbers keep rising--the International Organization for Migration estimates that by 2050 there will be 200 million climate displaced persons. Despite the eminent threat posed by climate change, however, “climate refugees” are not a protected class. The refugee resettlement and environmental community must come together to address the challenges that exist in assisting climate-displaced people and propose next steps for advancing legal frameworks, public campaigns, and policy decisions. As one of the oldest and largest resettlement agencies in the U.S., Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) will bring together a panel of experts to explore the unique intersection of climate change and forced migration.
LIRS is a faith-based organization with over 80 years of experience providing the long welcome to refugees fleeing inescapable violence from conflict and persecution in their home countries. LIRS was founded in 1939 by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve uprooted people during World War II, however, the roots of assisting immigrants date back to the 1860s. The Lutheran legacy of courageous and compassionate service has made a difference in the lives of half a million people who have sought safety and hope in America’s communities and has made LIRS one of the leading resettlement partners of the federal government for the last 40 years.
This event is part of the Climate Impacts and Adaptation program.