News & Resources

IRAP Responds to White House Report on Climate Change and Migration


October 21, 2021


Spencer Tilger


Climate Displacement Expert Ama Francis Available to Comment

(New York, NY) – Today, the White House National Security Council (NSC) issued a report on climate change and migration, the first time multiple U.S. agencies have worked together to comprehensively assess the impact of climate-fueled displacement. In the report, the Biden administration announced the creation of an interagency policy process to “coordinate U.S. government efforts to mitigate and respond to migration resulting from the impacts of climate change.”

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) celebrates these important first steps in addressing climate displacement and looks forward to working with the administration to develop policy based on the report’s findings. IRAP previously released recommendations outlining how the United States can use existing legal tools to protect climate-displaced people and develop new pathways.

IRAP Climate Displacement Project Strategist, Ama Francis, responded to today’s announcements:

“The White House report confirms what advocates have long known: climate displacement is happening now. This is a make or break decade for climate action, and for the millions of climate-impacted people already on the move, this government report affirms that their lives are important and that the time to act is now. The creation of an interagency working group is an immediate opportunity for U.S. agencies to take concrete action to support climate-displaced people using existing tools while the government and its partners develop long term solutions.” 

To schedule an interview with IRAP climate displacement expert Ama Francis, contact

Additional Background

  • Read “U.S. Opportunities to Address Climate Displacement” (August 2021) from IRAP and six endorsing organizations (NRDC; University Network for Human Rights; Mayors Migration Council; Truman National Security Project; Amnesty International; and Welcoming America) on recommendations for how the Biden Administration can address climate displacement using existing legal tools.

About Ama Francis

Ama Francis (they/them) is developing IRAP’s strategy, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), on expanding legal protection for climate-displaced people as the Climate Displacement Project Strategist. Ama is also a non-resident fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School and a consultant to the Open Society Foundation’s International Migration Initiative. 

Prior to joining IRAP, Ama was the 2018-2021 Climate Law Fellow at the Sabin Center, where they developed legal solutions to climate displacement and served on the Advisory Board of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the Steering Committee of the Climigration Network. Ama’s work at the Sabin Center also focused on developing countries, building on prior expertise as a legal consultant to Dominica’s Ministry of Health and Environment.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) develops and enforces a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. Mobilizing direct legal aid, litigation, and systemic advocacy, IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.