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For its tenth edition in 2019, the COAL Prize collaborated with the Platform on Disaster Displacement and DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys to tackle the topic of displacement related to disasters and climate change.

Since 2009, an estimated one person per second has been displaced following sudden-onset disasters. In 2017, 18 million people were displaced due to climate- or weather-related events. Disasters such as droughts, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis have left many victims without shelter, clean water and basic necessities. Meanwhile, slow changes, such as desertification and sea level rise, also force people out of their homes. Environmental issues are often intrinsically linked to the same political, economic and social factors that cause migration. Consequently, we find ourselves facing an “ordeal common to all: the ordeal of finding oneself deprived of land. […] We are discovering, more or less obscurely, that we are all in migration toward territories yet to be rediscovered and reoccupied” (Bruno Latour, Down to Earth, 2018).

A World Bank report released in March 2018 indicates that 143 million people around the world could be displaced by 2050 as a result of these impacts if nothing is done to halt climate change.

However, significant progress has been made in recent years to address the gap in international law for cross-border disaster-displaced persons and to improve protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs) due to disasters and climate change. The challenge lies in ensuring the political commitments made in the Global Compact for Migration, the Global Compact on Refugees, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the UNFCCC Task Force on Displacement, and the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda turn into concrete action in the areas most impacted by climate change.

In September 2018, UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a passionate speech calling upon world leaders and policymakers, who for too long have “refused to listen,” to come out of denial. He emphasized that they have the power to change the game.

Tackling the enormous challenge we face begins by making it visible. Thus the COAL association, in this special edition of the COAL Prize, invited artists from all over the world to share their testimonies and visions for a world more respectful of ecological balance and climatic justice. Through their creations, they can encourage policymakers to understand and act on the reality of displacement caused by climate change. Presented at COP25 in Madrid, the COAL Prize was present at the negotiating table to help ensure that political decisions translate into concrete changes for a shared and livable Earth.

With the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition and the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture, the Museum of Hunting and Nature, the François Sommer Foundation, the Platform on Disaster Displacement and DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys.


Application deadline : 9 September 2019
Announcement of shortlisted artists : November 2019
Award ceremony : December 2019 during the COP25 in Madrid


For this special edition of the COAL Prize, the laureate received a 10,000 euro grant awarded by the François Sommer Foundation. They also benefited from international visibility in connection with DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys.

About the Prize

Since its inception in 2010 by the COAL Association, the COAL Prize has become a vehicle for identification, promotion and dissemination of these artists to the general public, political actors and professionals of culture and ecology.

Each year the ten projects are shortlisted by a committee of professionals among the projects received through the international open call. The winning project was chosen by a jury composed of representatives of partner organizations of the 2019 COAL Prize and personalities of art and ecology.

All the artists and projects considered by COAL and the selection committee become part of a network which COAL may invite or endorse for other relevant opportunities and projects carried out by the association.

You can download the open call on the right margin of this page. For more information, please visit the coal prize webpage. 

Lucy Orta, Speaking At The Launch Of 2019 UAL Research Fortnight At London College Of Fashion Photo: Gorm Ashurst

2019 UAL Fortnight Research Lecture

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2018 Global Forum on Migration and Development

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2018 UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs

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