This paper analyses mechanisms for reacting to migration associated withenvironmental shocks. It responds primarily to recent calls formainstreaming migration into environmental disaster risk reduction andclimate change adaptation. The principles suggested here are applicable tothose who move, host or stay behind. Based on a multiple sector and inter-disciplinary perspective, the human impact of environmental shocks can bemitigated through appropriate technologies and awareness, civil societalengagement and political commitment. Operational mechanisms includecontingency planning, early warning, risk management, improvedcommunication and the application of appropriate response standards.These are guided by on-going evaluation of human vulnerability andcapacity, particularly amongst marginalised groups, also being applicableirrespective of limitations in ‘environmental migrant’ categorisation andquantification. Relocation in relation to environmental shocks is variablycharacterised by risk increase or reduction, adaptation and potentialbetterment or decline in well-being and security. However, complexitybetween type, location and timing of environmental shock, individualbehaviour, cultural and political influences renders migrationmainstreaming in disaster reduction an uncertain science and policydomain. It is noted in this respect that relocating or remaining
requires adaptation, depends on variable survival mechanisms and issubject to the power and control wielded over people’s lives by others.Findings from disaster reduction studies suggest that understandingdecisions to migrate, stay behind, host supportively, engage migrationpolicy and so forth, will involve understanding and respecting people’svaried aspirations for well-being. For the complex terrain of internationaland internal migration this will demand an approach beyond standardvulnerability or resilience assessments. The framework attempted suggeststhat simplification of human mechanisms of adaptation and reacting toenvironmental change remains largely unresolved, but some approachesflagged here can contribute much, being sensitised by principles of humanrights, responsibilities and sustainable development more widely.
Introduction: emergency managementreactions in relation to migration
Mechanisms for reacting to migration associated with environmental shocks depend on thenature of the hazards and vulnerabilities experienced over the immediate or long term. In thispaper emphasis is put on ‘reactive involuntary non-administered displacement’ (Oliver-Smith,2006). The paper is largely a discussion extrapolated from a mix of involuntary migration anddisaster reduction literatures. In this instance predominant themes in disaster risk reduction