Environmental Change and Human Mobility: Trends, Law and Policy
AbstractEnhancing the protection of persons displaced by natural disasters and the impacts of climate change will require sustained attention. This article identifies practical solutions, many of which are currently under consideration by governments and international organizations, to improve the lives of millions of people affected by environmental crises. It begins with a brief overview of why people move, the nature of those movements, and the relationship between human mobility and adaptation to environmental change by highlighting three types of mobility – migration, displacement and planned relocation. Next, the international and regional level will be discussed, with particular focus on legislative and policy frameworks for addressing human mobility in the context of environmental change. The article identifies gaps in existing frameworks as well as recent efforts to address them, particularly through mini-multilateral initiatives aimed at identifying principles and practices that should guide governmental action. The article concludes that efforts to improve responses require a better evidence base than currently exists on issues such as the environmental determinants of migration, displacement and planned relocation; the multi-faceted ways in which environmental factors relate to the many other causes of population movements in the cases of human mobility; and the impact of such movements on the well-being of migrants, communities of origin, and communities of destination.
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