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Assessing Institutional and Governance Needs Related to Environmental Change and Human Migration

Assessing Institutional and Governance Needs Related to Environmental Change and Human Migration

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Published by Kayly
Background paper released by the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Study Team on Climate-induced Migration.

Summary: Often, the media and policymakers approach the issue of climate change, migration and displacement by asking questions related to “how many” migrants will come. An equally important but less considered question is how national institutions will adapt to accommodate climate change and human mobility. This paper suggests that the capacity of states to adjust to these changes effectively is contingent upon the particular cultural, social, economic and political contexts in which they function and the structural constraints of government machinery. Rather than proposing prêt-a-porter solutions for nation-states, it is important to help states better understand the institutional implications of climate change and human mobility and to aid them in designing custom policies. This paper illustrates these issues with reference to climate change-induced migration in Bangladesh, Mexico and Senegal.
Background paper released by the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Study Team on Climate-induced Migration.

Summary: Often, the media and policymakers approach the issue of climate change, migration and displacement by asking questions related to “how many” migrants will come. An equally important but less considered question is how national institutions will adapt to accommodate climate change and human mobility. This paper suggests that the capacity of states to adjust to these changes effectively is contingent upon the particular cultural, social, economic and political contexts in which they function and the structural constraints of government machinery. Rather than proposing prêt-a-porter solutions for nation-states, it is important to help states better understand the institutional implications of climate change and human mobility and to aid them in designing custom policies. This paper illustrates these issues with reference to climate change-induced migration in Bangladesh, Mexico and Senegal.

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Published by: Kayly on Jul 05, 2010
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07/04/2010

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Summary: Often, the media and policy-makers approach the issue of climatechange, migration and displacement byasking questions related to “how many”migrants will come. An equally importantbut less considered question is how na-tional institutions will adapt to accommo-date climate change and human mobility.This paper suggests that the capacityof states to adjust to these changes ef-fectively is contingent upon the particularcultural, social, economic and politicalcontexts in which they function and thestructural constraints of governmentmachinery. Rather than proposing prêt-a-porter solutions for nation-states, it is im-portant to help states better understandthe institutional implications of climatechange and human mobility and to aidthem in designing custom policies. Thispaper illustrates these issues with refer-ence to climate change-induced migra-tion in Bangladesh, Mexico and Senegal.
 
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 200091 202 745 3950F 1 202 265 1662E ino@gmus.org
Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration
Tis paper draws on patterns o envi-ronmentally induced migration whichhave emerged in recent empiricalwork and discusses how institutionsand policies inuence the orms o human mobility in the ace o envi-ronmental and climate change. It helpsassess institutional and governanceneeds related to environmental changeand human migration. In this paper“governance” reers to the regulationo interdependent relations with many levels and actors, and also includes anelement o power and interest (Young,2002, 2004) in situations and poli-cies. Section 1 o the paper examines various key concepts and denitionsrelated to climate change-inducedmigration. Section 2 addresses ques-tions about the level o prepared-ness within current institutional andgovernance rameworks to manageenvironmentally induced migration inthe uture. Where the paper identiesgaps in governance approaches, sec-tion 3 suggests ways to begin bridginggaps and dene new modes o gover-nance where needed. Tis paper ties inwith some o the messages presentedin Susan Martin’s background paperon adaptation mechanisms whichmay improve governance o climatechange-related migration.
Concepts and denitions: links to governance gaps in environmentalmigration
erms and concepts such as environ-mental or climate change migration,environmentally induced or orced mi-gration, ecological or environmentalreugees, and climate change reugeesare used throughout the emergingliterature, with no general agreementon precise denition(s) (Dun andGemenne, 2008).
1
Te diculty o establishing clear de-nitions o concepts and terms relatedto climate change-induced migrationstems rom two issues. First, schol-ars have pointed out the challenge o isolating environmental actors romother migration drivers (Black, 2001;Castles, 2002; Boano et al., 2008). Asmigration is driven by a plethora o actors including climate change, it hasbeen dicult to establish the causalrelationships and consequences o climate change-induced migration.Tis heightens the challenge o quanti-
Assessing Institutional and GovernanceNeeds Related to Environmental Changeand Human Migration
by Koko Warner
June 2010
1
This paper uses the working denition of environmentally induced migrants proposed by the IOM: “Environmentally
induced migrants are persons or groups of persons who, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive changesin the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, orchoose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad” (IOM, 2007:1).
 
ying such migration and explains the wide range in expertestimates o climate change-induced migrant populations.It was also dicult to dene the range o climate change-induced migration because o the institutional and gover-nance implications o doing so: Denitions o the “problem”(i.e., as a migration, humanitarian, development, security,or environmental issue) allow an assignment o authority toaddress environmentally induced migration.
How institutions and policies affect environmentallyinduced migration outcomes
Emerging empirical research indicates that environmentalchanges including climate change currently play a role inmigration (Jäger at et al., 2009; Warner et al., 2008, 2009).Figure 1 (see page 17) provides a typology o dierent ormso environmentally induced migration or rapid- and slow-onset environmental stressors (Renaud et al., 2010). Dis-tinguishing between rapid- and slow-onset events providesa useul point o departure or understanding the potentialgovernance needs o migrants, as well as possible gaps incurrent institutions and policies designed to address humanmobility. Tis section will explore how institutions andpolicy aect environmentally induced migration, pointingout the role o time, environmental stressors, the quality o policy interventions, and gaps in policy and governance.
Governance gaps: rapid-onset environmental changeand migration
One subset o environmentally induced migration is relatedto rapid-onset environmental changes – ofen in the orm o natural disasters. Tis section discusses the current gover-nance gaps related to managing human mobility in the aceo rapid-onset environmental change, and highlights theimportance o eective pre- and post-disaster management.able 1 (see page 15) provides an overview o these gaps.
Rapid-onset climate events
Te occurrence o migration related to rapid-onset eventsis perhaps the easiest to identiy because the impacts o theenvironmental event are relatively observable, and in somecases reported by the media. Such events include severeweather such as ooding, windstorms, storm surges andlandslides (ofen related to heavy rains), as well as geologicaloccurrences like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Whenrapid-onset natural disasters occur, people ofen must eerom the aected area to avoid physical harm or loss o lie. In some cases homes are destroyed, making tempo-rary resettlement in shelters a necessary risk managementapproach. During and afer rapid-onset events, livelihoodsare ofen lost or interrupted through destruction o crops,livestock or productive assets. Tese kinds o impacts canmotivate people to move. Te way that disasters o this typeare managed plays a role in people’s mobility decisions.Te time period o interest in governing human mobil-ity and rapid-onset environmental hazards is typically therst 72 hours ollowing an event or humanitarian relie eorts. Te ocus o these eorts is ofen around rescue,establishing temporary shelters, and medical help. In thedays ollowing a disaster, humanitarian eorts may shif to-wards providing clean ood and water, stabilization o localpopulations and assessment o the situation. Ofen mediais present in these rst ew days ollowing an event, andplay a role in mobilizing resources to pay or humanitarianassistance. In cases where people are evacuated or displaceddue to a disaster, policy gaps ofen arise around where thesepeople should go in the weeks, months and sometimesyears ollowing a disaster. wo examples o evacuation andsubsequent (permanent) displacement include HurricaneKatrina (2005) and the eruption o the Montserrat volcanoin the Caribbean.
Role of policy interventions and governance gaps(post-disaster recovery, legal status of displaced people)
For rapid-onset events, humanitarian organizations lead theeorts to assist people aected by and possibly displacedby environmental hazards, in coordination with nationalgovernments and donors. Te ecacy o governance playsa critical role in whether migrants will return, or whetherthey will stay away indenitely. Migrants will likely needsupport in integration, establishing livelihoods in new areasand protection rom any number o discriminatory prac-tices. Sof law such as the Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced People (IDP) may protect these people to someextent, but the lack o recognition o environmental stress-ors as a legitimate cause o migration may limit eectiveassistance or protection. Following the 2002 earthquakes inEl Salvador and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, governmentslike the United States have granted temporary visas or mi-
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Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration
 
grants so that they could work and provide remittances andassistance to aected amily members. It is unclear whethersuch practices will become an international norm; hence, apartial gap exists.In the immediate afermath o the event, people are able toreturn to their origins depending on the degree to whichrecovery o social, economic and physical characteristics o the aected area is rapid and eective, or slow and ine-ective. As noted above, humanitarian organizations areequipped to respond to disasters, but not necessarily to ad-equately manage larger-scale or longer-term displacement.Some sof-law provisions are in place internationally regard-ing the protection o IDPs (Kalin, 2000), but ew systematicapproaches are in place and this is ofen an overlookedpolicy area (Kolmannskogg, 2008; Oliver-Smith, 2009).Tis partial gap implies that the capacity o humanitar-ian organizations could be exceeded by climate change, aswell as the increasing exposure o people and their assetsto natural hazards. Environmental change today blurs themandates o humanitarian organizations: raditionally these organizations have provided relie and disaster as-sistance. Increasingly today, however, they are aced withmore requent and intense disasters, as well as longer-termdisplacement issues. Tere are some provisions, such asin sof law, or the protection o IDPs, but these are ofenspecically related to conict situations where developmentagencies and organizations are less able to intervene. Hu-manitarian organizations could ace a capacity challenge i the number o rapid-onset events and the number o peopleaected by them grows signicantly. Kirsch-Wood et al.noted “In the last 20 years the recorded number o disasterscaused by oods has increased by 300 percent – rom about50 to more than 200 events. Floods and storms now trig-ger the bulk o sudden-onset international humanitarianresponses. O the 26 UN Flash Appeals issued since Janu-ary 2006, 18 appeals have been in response to oods andcyclones” (2008: 40).In the recovery phase, there are two broad alternatives orpeople who have voluntarily moved or have been displacedby environmental hazards. However, there are governanceand policy gaps related to both o these alternatives.First, i disaster response is rapid and eective, then it isexpected that aected areas will recover both economi-cally (important or livelihoods) and physically (rebuildinginrastructure, reestablishing pre-disaster systems) within arelevant timerame. In this case o eective recovery (whichcan include both “good” governance, as well as the avail-ability o nance), people will have a range o choices abouttheir mobility. Some temporarily displaced people may choose to return to their origins and reestablish themselves(IOM, 2007). However, i disaster risk recovery and associ-ated policy interventions are ineective in reestablishingcritical inrastructure and services, as well as reestablishinga minimum level o social order and livelihood possibili-ties, aected people may not be able to return within a shortperiod o time. Te timing o governance interventionsplays a key role – even i people could technically returnto hazard aected areas, they may not choose to return i rehabilitation does not take place soon enough to be in syncwith lie cycle or other developments (such as employment,or services like schooling or children). I disaster-displacedpeople do choose to not return to impacted areas, they become climate change migrants, or which no currentgovernance ramework is established. Tere is currently nolegal category or status or climate change migrants, andlittle systematic orm o support or such people.Second, i disaster response is slow and ineective, it isexpected that aected areas will not recover economically (important or livelihoods), socially and/or physically (re-building inrastructure, reestablishing pre-disaster systems)within a relevant timerame. In this case, recovery is ine-ective. Reasons or ineective rehabilitation can include“poor” governance, as well as the lack o availability o nance or other resources or recovery. Tis limits the rangeo mobility-related choices or aected people. I peoplecannot return to the impacted area, they may become an“environmentally 
 forced migrant 
” or which no currentgovernance ramework is established. In this case, there is agovernance gap or people who were displaced and cannotreturn to disaster-aected areas. Afer disaster assistancehas been exhausted, no systematic approach appears to bein place in most countries to address the needs o climatechange migrants.In summary, many regions o the world are currently par-tially equipped to manage this subset o environmentally induced migration related to rapid-onset environmentalhazards – largely because there are policies and mecha-nisms in place or prevention/risk reduction, humanitarian
3
Study Team on Climate-Induced Migration

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