As COP28 unfolded in Dubai, 125 leading climate and migration justice groups called on UK political party leaders to back a “right to move and right to stay” approach to climate-linked migration.

5th December 2023 | sign the letter | learn more | take action | share

two hands, on representing climate and one representing migration, touching over a background of the rising sun.

Dear UK Party Leaders,

Climate change has no borders, so governments have a global responsibility to keep communities safe from its consequences and protected when they need to move.

This year saw the hottest month in 100,000 years, followed immediately after by extreme floods and storms. Here in the UK and across the world, floods, droughts, extreme weather, bad harvests, and altered ecosystems are changing how and where we live. We must slash our use of fossil fuels – and overturn the systems of extraction, exploitation and oppression fuelling this crisis. But this alone won’t stop disruption happening. We must also act now to protect people in the UK and around the world from the worst consequences of climate change.

Right now, people are deciding to move – mostly within their countries, but sometimes across borders. Their journeys are often dangerous, with people making journeys across harsh environments, through unsafe places, and unable to reach sanctuary. Powerful countries often worsen their journeys with the weapons and walls of violent border regimes, using resources that could be helping rather than harming – the border industry was worth $68bn USD in 2020  and is fast growing. In these insecure conditions, people can become even more vulnerable to exploitation and modern slavery.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With support and organisation, we can ensure that more people can stay in their homes and communities, can move without facing further danger, and can access support during an emergency. We can ensure that all of us have real choices in how they adapt to climate emergencies – rather than having to wait for disaster to strike. 

As COP28 unfolds, we are calling on UK Leaders to recognise how climate change is impacting people’s lives and work to protect them through: 

  1. Recognising migration as a form of climate adaptation, and avoiding the use of the “hostile environment” and harsher border policies in response to humanitarian emergencies.
  2. Committing to supporting both the right to stay and the right to move, both at home and overseas; through providing resources for communities to manage climate impacts, through providing safe pathways to at-risk communities, and through immediate support in emergencies.  
  3. Working within existing international processes and frameworks on climate and displacement to ensure that all nations play their part – especially the largest polluters. 
  4. Commit to a fair and equitable phase out of fossil fuels.
  5. Including the voices of migrants and refugees in the development of national action plans on climate change. 

People have always moved in search of better lives throughout history – the choice is not whether we prevent it from happening. Either we can remain on the current course, where migration is unsafe, unpredictable, and driven by emergencies. Or we can invest in ensuring movement is planned, safe, and opportunities and structures exist to ensure that both migrants and host communities reap the benefits. 

Climate change and its impacts are a common challenge for all of us to solve together. But our people and our country are equipped with the values and the capability to rise to that challenge, not only protecting each other, but building a better society for all.


Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Stephen Flynn, Ed Davey, Jeffrey Donaldson, Liz Saville Roberts, Caroline Lucas, Humza Yousaf, Mark Drakeford, Michelle O’Neill

Supporting Groups

African Rainbow Family
After Exploitation
Anti-Slavery International
Arise Foundation
Awel Amen Tawe
Bees & Refugees
Books Against Borders
Cambridge Made
Campaign against Climate Change
Carbon Copy
Cardiff Quakers
Children’s Environmental Health Foundation
Churches Together in Winchester
City of Sanctuary UK
Climate and Community
Climate & Migration Coalition
Climate and Gender Team, United Nations House Scotland
Climate Cymru
Climate Justice Coalition
Climate Shop
Climate Vanguard
Clynfyw Care Farm
Coma Sound
Communication Workers Union NW H&S Forum
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Conversation Over Borders
D6: Culture in Transit
Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig
Defend Our NHS Wirral
Ecojustice Ireland
Egni Cooperative
End Deportations Belfast
Extinction Rebellion Cardigan
Extinction Rebellion Clevedon Portishead and Pill
Extinction Rebellion Frome
Extinction Rebellion Merseyside
Extinction Rebellion Shrewsbury
Extinction Rebellion Trafford
Faith for the Climate
Ffynnone Community Resilience
Fondation Eboko
Forced To Flee
Fossil Free Parliament
Fossil Free Pride
Friends of the Earth EWNI
Galashiels Community Garden
Global Justice Now
Global Justice South East Hants
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
Green New Deal Rising
Greenpeace UK
Haringey Welcome
High Peak Green New Deal
High Peak Green Party
Jubilee Movement
Landworkers Alliance Northern Ireland
Leeds Anti-Raids Action
Left Unity UK
Manchester Migrant Solidarity

Merseyside Solidarity KnowsNoBorders
Migrant Democracy Project
Migrants in Culture
Migrants Organise
Migrants’ Rights Network
Money Rebellion
No Borders in Climate Justice
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment
North East Climate Justice Coalition
One Northallerton One Planet
Organic Growers of Fairlie
People & Planet
Polish Migrants Organise for Change
Pontypridd Land Society
Public and Commercial Services union
Quakers in Britain
Radio Calais
Refugee Action
Refugee and Migrants Forum of Essex and London
Refugee Legal Support
Resurgence Dorset
Save Our Shores
Scientists for Global Responsibility
Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Social Farms & Gardens
South East Hants Hub – Climate Justice Coalition
Southeast and East Asian Centre
St Augustines Centre
Stop Climate Chaos Cymru
Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
Stop Eacop UK
Stop Ecocide Canada
Sustainable Wales
The Centre for African Entrepreneurship
The Coproduction Network for Wales
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
The Mentor Ring
The One Planet Centre
The Pickwell Foundation
The William Gomes Podcast
Tipping Point UK
Tir Natur
Transition Lichfield
Triratna Earth Sangha
Voice for Voiceless Immigration Detainees-Yorkshire
War on Want
Wanstead Climate Action
West London Welcome
West Wales Climate Coalition
Winchester Action on the Climate Crisis
World Concern
Women for Refugee Women
Extinction Rebellion Cardigan
Extinction Rebellion Clevedon Portishead and Pill
Extinction Rebellion Frome
York Methodist Circuit Eco Task Force
Yorkshire and Humber Climate Justice Coalition
West End Refugee Service