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Managing population migrations dues to extreme climate phenomena (EXCLIM)

Climate change is a world major issue binding human and environmental destiny. It therefore needs a systemic thinking able to highlight relation and dependence between quality of environment and human life.

The issue of global climate change compels to break the sociological gap between nature and humans. It imposes to cross ecocentric and anthropocentric visions in order to allow a global analysis and understanding of this issue, the only one able to succeed in pertinent action scenarios.

This project brings together specialists of environment and sustainable development and specialists of migration from different fields (political science, law, sociology, and geography, development) in order to create a useful knowledge on behaviors of people impacted by climate crisis.

Cross-border or local migrations, due to deteriorations caused by climate change are neither a fiction scenario nor a faraway future. They currently occur on a small scale, in terms of territory, but make already vulnerable entire communities and oblige inhabitants to move either temporarily or permanently to ensure their survival.

Examples exist in both Asia and the US with cyclonic phenomena, in Pacific islands with sea level rise or in Europe with floods and major fires in the South.

Without waiting to get to catastrophic estimates mentioning millions of refugees by 2050, it is imperative to study the spontaneous or planned mechanisms which allow societies to cope with crises. If climate change is already inevitable (GIEC, 2007), systematization of current experience is more than necessary in order to plan future public policies.

Our goal is double:

  1. On the one hand, it consists of analyzing a case series where populations’ migrations dues to climate disturbances are recorded in order to understand the spontaneous or planned mechanisms which allow societies coping  with crises.
  2. On the other hand, it consists of analyzing the international context where different initiatives have an influence on public policies aiming to protect and prevent climate migrations. We believe that the global climate change challenge makes that international and local policies mutually condition and legitimate themselves. It is therefore necessary to make an analysis going beyond the local particularisms.

Starting from three major causes of climate migrations – increased strength of tropical storms, rains and floods; increase of droughts linked to starvation risks; sea level rise – we decide to analyze the following cases: three cases concerning drought (wild fires in Greece, rural crisis in Turkey, food insecurity in Niger); a case on floods (Italy), a case on sea level rise (Maldives) and a case on abnormal cyclonic events (New Orleans, US).

In the same way, selected cases refer to countries where providential and assurance systems’ development is very different, which makes the comparison more valuable.

For this first level analysis, we have chosen three questioning axes:

  • Perception that key actors have of their experience
  • Impact of education/awareness programs
  • Interaction between public policies developed by authorities further to crisis and spontaneous adaptation of populations
  • Local organizational and institutional obstacles in the coordinated management of migratory movements and fight against climate change

For the second level international analysis, three questioning cross-axes have been identified:

  • The place of climatic migrations in Kyoto-2 negotiations
  • The issues of justification and viability of law protections
  • The evaluation of international programs of catastrophes’ prevention and mitigation and of the first aid to people displaced.

A permanent interaction exists between local experiences and both discussions and proposed action instruments at international level. Global systems of prevention, mitigation and adaptation to risks will be based not only on climate crises but also solution of local issues will be based on international initiatives. Synergy between the two analysis’ levels is therefore necessary to lead to observations able to improve management’s public policies of both local and international human impacts of climate change.

  • Climate Policy and International Climate Negotiations
  • Adaptation
  • Impacts