Session 4

Impact of Climate Change on Migration, Health and Labor

U.S. Coordinators: Mark Schenker, Professor, University of California, Davis and Dr. Xochitl Castaneda, Program Director, The Health Initiative of the Americas, University of California, Berkeley

México Coordinator: Dr. Horacio Riojas, Director, National Institute for Public Health


Description: Climate change is expected to dramatically increase as a cause of global migration in the 21 st century. The impacts of climate change on the health of migrants are experienced in the countries of origin, in the transit and in countries of destination. This is particularly of significance because of the large number of individuals who migrate between Mexico and California and the influence of climate on the health of individuals moving between the two countries. Climate change also impacts the health of migrants from Latin America transiting across Mexico. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable to climate-related health risks because of several social determinants increasing the risk in this population. Outdoor workers in California and Mexico are largely an immigrant population and are at increased risk of climate change-related adverse health effects.

  • What are the climate—related health risks of migrants moving between Mexico and California?
  • What specific interventions are possible to reduce the risk of climate-related illness among migrants in the country of origin, in the transit and in the country of destination?
  • What interventions (education, regulation) are possible to reduce the risk of heat-related illness among outdoor workers in Mexico and California?
  • What are potential avenues of common effort that can be implemented to reduce the climate-related health risks of climate change among workers and residents in Mexico and California?
  • What institutions in California and Mexico should be involved in efforts to reduce the health risks of climate-related impacts?

Session format and timeline:

0-15 min: Coordinators introduce panel participants

15-25: Session coordinators describe the subtopics and the objectives of the session

25-46: Each panelist presents a perspective on the topic at hand (7 min each)

46-95: Coordinators open the floor for questions and discussion using pre-determined subtopics and session goals as guide

95-120: Identification of items to be presented to the plenar