The International Framework for Climate-Induced DisplacementFebruary 7, 2011 By Christina DaggettEast-West Center, author Maxine Burkett discusses the challenges climate-induced migration presents to the people of the Pacific Islands. In the brief, titled “In Search of Refuge: Pacific Islands, Climate-Induced Migration, and the Legal Frontier,” Burkett states that millions of people in the Pacific Islands will be forced to leave their homes because of “increased intensity and frequency of storms and floods, sea-level rise, and desertification.” These low-lying islands could face a loss of agriculture and freshwater resources, or even be wiped out altogether, an outcome for which there is no international legal precedent.
Swimming Against the Tide: Why a Climate Displacement Treaty is Not the Answer,” published in the International Journal of Refugee Law, Jane McAdam takes a different position on the plight of so-called “climate refugees.” McAdam argues that focusing on an international treaty for these migrants distracts from efforts to establish responses for adaptation, internal migration, and migration over time. The article, writes the author, “does not deny the real impacts that climate change is already having on communities,” but rather questions the utility and political consequences of “pinning ‘solutions’ to climate change-related displacement on a multilateral instrument.”
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