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Climate resilience and older refugees

Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

Climate change and the ageing of population are the greatest challenges of our times. In particular, climate change has a disproportionate effect on certain groups, due to their age, their mobility and dependence, as well as their physical, emotional or mental condition. These are often aggravated by poverty and location, such as remote rural areas or coastal areas.

Older persons are particularly vulnerable in disaster situations. Difficulties in hearing or seeing may limit access to emergency information and awareness of the gravity of the situation. Chronic health issues or particular needs of older persons may delay or prevent escape and evacuation. Older persons may also be reluctant to reach out or seek shelter.
While the particular vulnerability of older persons in disaster situations is receiving increasing attention, more needs to be done to mitigate and reduce the impact of disasters on older persons and to ensure that their rights are protected at all times.

At the same time, it is essential to recognize that older persons have unique capacities and contributions to make in preparing for and responding to disasters. Older persons must be the subject of, and the actor in disaster risk reduction management and resilience policies:

Human rights of older refugees

The inclusion of older persons in the Global Compact on Refugees is a key step to ensuring older persons are considered in displacement. One year after the affirmation of the Global Compact, the first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) will be a unique opportunity for the international community to make concrete pledges and contributions to ensure that it’s implementation is inclusive of older refugees and ensures that their rights are protected in displacement situations.