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“Migration and Climate Change” A UNESCO publication on one of the greatest challenges facing our time

Book Cover

UNESCO Publishing
Edited by Etienne Piguet, Antoine Pecoud and Paul de Guchteneire

Climate change is becoming an increasingly significant factor in migration, even if nightmare scenarios predicting a human tide of “environmental refugees” are unfounded and counter-productive, concludes the first authoritative overview of the relationship between climate change and migration, published by UNESCO and Cambridge University Press.

“Migration and Climate Change” brings together the views of 26 leading experts from a range of disciplines such as demography, climatology, economics, geography, anthropology and law. They present case studies from Bangladesh, Brazil, Nepal and the islands of the Pacific, analyzing the often alarming statistics and tearing down the myths associated with one of the most-discussed but least-understood aspects of climate change.
“This new publication is a vital contribution to one of the major debates of our time,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, who on 1 July took over the chairmanship of the Global Migration Group (1). “We have all read startling headlines warning that climate change will force tens of millions of people to move. This book looks at the evidence for these claims, shows us the real issues at stake – especially those concerning human rights. It also provides some sobering guidance for policy and decision-makers at local, national and international level.”

Full review on UNESCO website.

2 Comments to “Migration and Climate Change” A UNESCO publication on one of the greatest challenges facing our time

  1. Anne

    Hello and thank you for this article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

    According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty”.

  2. Moritz

    Thank you for the clarification, Anne.


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