A little action needed

Added: Rosamaria Low - Date: 19.02.2022 09:47 - Views: 48146 - Clicks: 6432

Climate change-induced displacement and migration have been discussed and researched since the s. Since then there has been considerable academic and professional debate on the definition and conception of these people. Opinions differ as to whether displaced peoples should be regarded as refugees or migrants, with a key difficulty being the inability to cite climate change as the absolute cause of displacement. Yet it was not until the negotiations in Cancun that a full and considered sub-paragraph was included in the outcome text, as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework.

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The inclusion of issues pertaining to climate change-induced displacement and migration under the Framework was a big step toward gaining international recognition and consensus on the management of this increasingly important issue. But little action or mention of the issue has occurred since this time.

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Specific discussion on issues of migration and displacement at the UN climate talks are almost non-existent. But with climate change displacement already occurring, the UN cannot afford to remain silent. Recent typhoons in the Philippines and floods in Pakistan demonstrate the urgency of the issue, but displacement and migration as a result of climate change have still not made it onto the agenda at the latest negotiating round in Doha. While displacement and migration have different levels and scales from temporary to permanent, internal to internationalaction needs to be taken to ensure the rights and needs of displaced peoples, whatever the situation, are recognised and effectively addressed.

Yet the current international system is ill equipped to manage the rights and needs of internationally displaced persons. In a technical and legal sense, people displaced as a result of climate change and other environmental pressures are not refugees; and neither are they internally displaced persons. While some have suggested they could simply be included under the international legal term of stateless persons, this definition fails to for the physical loss of territory. Small island states in the Pacificsuch as Tuvalu and Kiribati, suffer A little action needed most immediate threat because of their particularly low-lying topography.

A combination of rising seas and extreme weather events, followed by secondary impacts on infrastructure, food security and health, means that international displacement as a result of climate change is increasingly likely for these countries.

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Calculating the of people potentially displaced by climate change is extraordinarily difficult due to the fraught nature of pinpointing climate change as the exact cause. Roughly one million of these people are expected to come from small island states, many of which are in the Pacific.

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Despite these estimates, the Australian government has largely neglected the issue of climate refugees. The current of asylum seekers and refugees seeking entry to Australia pales in comparison to the populations likely to become internationally displaced within its immediate region alone. This is why Australia must begin pushing, in Doha and in subsequent climate talks, for the development of stronger international standards and guidelines.

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Currently the government refuses to even acknowledge the issue. But Australia must work to build a powerful and effective coalition to manage the issue if it is to successfully manage the effects of regional displacement — something it cannot handle alone.

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The UN climate change process is a good place to begin this work. Future displacement and migration as a result of climate change cannot be managed in a piecemeal fashion. A stronger, more forward-thinking regional migration strategy is required — one that ensures international human rights standards are upheld. To achieve this, a paradigm shift in the public representation and understanding of asylum seekers and refugees needs to occur.

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A little action needed

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