Climate, Displacement and Democracy: Safeguarding the Democratic Rights of the Environmentally Displaced

Hosted by the Embassy of Sweden and IFES

Ocean waves



The impact of climate change on conflict, displacement and migration are increasingly far-reaching and apparent. It is estimated that as many as 200 million individuals could be environmentally displaced by 2050. Environmental challenges tend to exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities. Those who are forced to leave their homes often also lose their ability to exercise basic political rights. The lack of opportunities for political participation means that the concerns of this vulnerable group are not factored into decision-making, and that their integration into new environments is hindered, sometimes at the risk of conflict with host communities.

On September 16, 2021, the Embassy of Sweden and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) held an expert discussion on how to safeguard the democratic rights of the environmentally displaced, ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow and the virtual Summit for Democracy organized by the United States.

Welcoming Remarks

  • Karin Olofsdotter, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States
  • Anthony Banbury, President and CEO, IFES


  • Janine Alm Ericson, State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, Sweden
  • Johnny Walsh, Deputy Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Jenny Ohlsson, Ambassador for Migration and Refugees, MFA of Sweden
  • Vasu Mohan, Senior Global Advisor for Conflict, Displacement and Minority Rights, IFES
  • Alexandra Bilak, Director, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)

For background, read Electoral Rights of Environmentally Displaced Persons authored by IFES' Vasu Mohan.

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