Vision & Mandate

Each year, tens of millions of people across the globe are driven from their homes by floods, storms, droughts, and other weather-related disasters. As rising temperatures result in more extreme weather, growing food insecurity, and rising sea levels, human and natural systems will continue to experience shocks, and displacement will affect an increasing number of people around the world.

 

The Climate Migrants and Refugees Project was founded to meet this need. In 2021, the Climate Migrants and Refugees Project underwent a rebranding process and was renamed the Climate Displacement Planning Initiative. Learn more here

Our Mission

WE DEVELOP RESEARCH, RESOURCES, AND COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE TO SERVE THE AT-RISK PEOPLE MOVING WITHIN AND TO CANADA BECAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

The Climate Displacement Planning Initiative (CDPI) is a Canadian non-profit that helps governments, particularly cities and local governments, address climate change displacement and help those who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and ancestral territories due to climate change.

CLIMATE-DISPLACED PERSONS EXPERIENCE SAFE, DIGNIFIED, AND JUST MOBILITY WITHIN AND TO CANADA.

 

Although climate-induced displacement is a global problem, CDPI is focused on those who are displaced within and to Canada. We aim to mobilize Canadian cities and urban change-makers to explore how we can integrate emerging environmental, social, and economic challenges into urban resilience planning.

Our Vision

Theory of Change 

​CDPI's theory of change is predicated on an understanding of three interrelated problems which we seek to address through our research and programming.

Problem 1 — there is a fundamental, overlapping lack of knowledge and awareness of the current scale and scope of climate displacement. This, in turn, is reflected in a complete vacuum of responsibility and jurisdiction over the problem area, especially in national and regional policy-making. 

CDPI aims to respond to this issue by providing key actors with research and information to build awareness and understanding.

 

Problem 2 — because of these fundamental knowledge gaps, there is no effective governance system in Canada or elsewhere that integrates existing climate action and resilience priorities with a dynamic understanding of displacement, mobility, and climate change. This can create mandate misalignment and contradictions in how governments plan for and respond to displacement.

CDPI aims to address this challenge by developing frameworks and policy lenses that integrate climate displacement within the broader world of urban resilience planning. When working with national or other senior governments CDPI strives to always integrate an urban perspective in recommendations and advocacy.

Problem 3 — as a result of low knowledge and a mandate vacuum, there are limited and often very poor pathways for mobility and resettlement for those who face climate displacement. This is sadly true across the whole spectrum of mobility related to climate change, with gaps in emergency evacuation all the way to long-term, permanent resettlement. 

CDPI aims to address this challenge by developing tangible recommendations, toolkits, and other resources to directly address climate displacement challenges. By working directly with practitioners, we hope to provide the resources to drive on-the-ground projects and investments that can help those most at risk of displacement and those already displaced.

Principles

THESE ARE THE VALUES, BELIEFS, AND PRINCIPLES THAT CDPI IS COMMITTED TO UPHOLDING AND THAT ARE INTEGRAL TO THE WORK THAT WE DO. ​ 

We are committed to upholding human rights by affirming the rights of persons experiencing climate-induced displacement to and within Canada to experience safe, just, and dignified mobility, and by aligning our work with rights-based frameworks.
 
We uphold
human rights
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As an organization working explicitly in Canada, we recognize and will work to uphold the rights and title of Indigenous peoples throughout Canada. In the sense that all migration is inherently connected to land, we also recognize that any benefits to non-Indigenous people in Canada, including newcomers or migrants, can only exist within the context of the colonization of these lands and the treaties, agreements, proclamations, and otherwise, of which all Canadians and Indigenous peoples are party to.
We acknowledge and recognize Indigenous sovereignty
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We believe that migration is a natural human practice that has existed beyond the era of modern borders. Migration, therefore, is not a ‘problem’ to be solved, but rather a part of human life. When and where mobility is involuntary and people are displaced — due to acute climate impacts, like sea level rise, or more diffuse ones like temperature shifts — we believe ethical and effective intervention is critical.
We know that migration has always happened, climate change is just transforming it
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We recognize that climate change has differing social, economic, public health, and other impacts based on the experiences, identities, and locations of people and populations. Especially, we recognize the unfair and unequal impacts on the Global South and equity-seeking populations around the world, and the ongoing and disproportionate contributions to emissions of the Global North. For both interconnected reasons, we support the urgent need for wealthy societies to fully decarbonize.
We recognize the realities of climate (in)justice
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We strive to actively work and consult with people who are displaced whenever possible, centring the voices of these individuals and communities. We will always strive to deliver a fair and equitable process of consultation whenever possible.
We strive to centre the voices of those affected by climate displacement
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We believe that the answer to accommodating displaced persons in existing communities, particularly in Canada, is to build better, more inclusive, more just communities overall. Solutions, like investments in affordable housing, transit infrastructure, and values-led economic development, can and must benefit both new and existing residents. This necessitates a proactive, forward-looking approach.
We believe that successful resettlement involves building better, more just communities for all, including existing residents
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While our work is predicated on the empirical reality that climate change-driven displacement is already happening, we recognize and support the necessity of reducing its cause. We believe that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to zero by 2050, along with parallel, integrated, and massive investments in adaptation to ensure as many people as possible can adapt-in-place and maintain connections to existing communities.
We believe in the need for mitigation and adaptation
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We work and engage with communities, stakeholders, and decision makers to educate, raise awareness, and build solutions for climate-induced displacement. We are committed to learning with and from our partners.
We cooperate with others
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We value and uphold transparency across our work and communicate openly and honestly with all partners, donors, the public, and each other. We are also accountable to those we work with, including to each other.
We value transparency and accountability
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We practice and promote the values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion across all of our operations, and we strive to welcome people from all walks of life with a variety of experiences into the work that we do. We aim to approach internal and external collaborations first and foremost as non-extractive, co-beneficial relationships.
We operate fairly and welcome everyone into the fold
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Problem 1