Will climate change drive mass migration to Europe? Is it possible to control and manage migration? What’s the best way to address climate-induced migration?

In August of 2016, the Working Group on the Anthropocene presented a recommendation to the International Geological Congress that a new geological epoch needs to be declared: the Anthropocene, or the « age of humans ». The Holocene has apparently come to an end as humans have become the main forces of transformation of the planet. This might give the impression of a unified humanity, where all humans are agents of change on the planet. The reality is that most humans are actually the victims of the changing planet, especially those being displaced as a result of climate change.

At the same time, as Europe was engulfed in the « refugee crisis », unable to respond in a coordinated and dignified fashion to the plight of thousands of migrants fleeing desperate situations, political leaders and international organizations were pushing for a clear distinction between refugees and migrants. Organizations such as UNHCR or IOM ran op-eds to explain that ‘words did matter’ and that one should not confuse ‘refugees’, fleeing war and persecution, with ‘migrants’, fleeing poverty, hunger or disasters. Governments were keen to assert that refugees had a right to asylum, whereas migrants – especially when posing as refugees – should be sent back to where they came from.

These two events might seem unrelated to each other, yet they have connections that run deep. These connections will be the very subject of this talk.

After the talk we will migrate to the bar for some cocktails with borderless flavors.

Entrance to the event is free and it is held in English. Doors open at 19:30.

François Gemenne

A specialist of environmental geopolitics and migration dynamics, François Gemenne is a FNRS senior research associate at the University of Liège, where he is the Director of the Hugo Observatory. He also serves as co-director of theObservatory on Defence and Climateof the French Ministry of Defence. He lectures on environmental and migration policies in various universities, including the Université libre de Bruxelles, where he holds theBernheim Chair on Peace and Citizenship.