In search of shelter: Mapping the effects of climate change on human migration and displacement (2009)

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The impacts of climate change are already causing migration and displacement. Although the exact number of people that will be on the move by mid-century is uncertain, the scope and scale could vastly exceed anything that has occurred before. People in the least developed countries and island states will be affected first and worst.

The consequences for almost all aspects of development and human security could be devastating. There may also be substantial implications for political stability. Most people will seek shelter in their own countries while others cross borders in search of better odds. Some displacement and migration may be prevented through the implementation of adaptation measures. However, poorer countries are underequipped to support widespread adaptation. As a result, societies affected by climate change may find themselves locked into a downward spiral of ecological degradation, towards the bottom of which social safety nets collapse while tensions and violence rise. In this all-too-plausible worst-case scenario, large populations would be forced to migrate as a matter of immediate survival.

Climate-related migration and displacement can be successfully addressed only if they are seen as global processes rather than local crises. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities—both in terms of minimizing displacement and supporting unavoidable migration—must, therefore, underlie policy negotiations and subsequent outcomes. The burden of assisting and protecting displaced populations cannot be allowed to fall on the shoulders of most affected states alone.
Language: English
Imprint: In search of shelter: mapping the effects of climate change on human migration and displacement © by 2008 CARE International. Used by permission. 2009
Series: Report,