GENEVA - UN migration agency, IOM, issued a nearly $8 billion funding call on Monday to help almost 140 million people, including those internally displaced and the communities that host them.

Leading the appeal, IOM Director General Amy Pope said it was urgent to help communities resist climate change, which last year was an even bigger driver of migration than conflict.

“Hundreds of millions of people live in communities that are extremely vulnerable to climate shocks,” she said.

Crisis ahead

“If we do not begin to build this capacity now, we collectively will face a displacement crisis that dwarfs anything we deal with.”

Speaking in Geneva, Ms. Pope stressed that irregular and forced migration had reached “unprecedented levels”, with more than 71 million people already displaced within their own countries today.

But, the IOM chief also insisted there was “overwhelming evidence” that well-managed migration was “a major contributor to global prosperity and progress”.

In line with the UN agency’s long-term objectives, it said that Monday’s appeal would help to save lives and protect people on the move, find solutions to displacement and facilitate safe pathways for regular migration.