ENVIRONMENTAL MIGRATIONS: RETHINKING THE NEED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT LOCAL CONTEXTS IN LEGAL AND POLICY RESPONSES

Adele de Mesnard

Abstract


The recent intensification of environmental degradations has raised awareness among the international community that their impact on the displacement of populations could be acutely exacerbated in the future. This article criticises the analogy made between traditional refugees and environmental migrants. A universal status specifically dedicated to environmentally induced migrants cannot adequately capture the diversity of migrations induced by environmental degradations. It is necessary to take into account the vulnerability of the most-affected and, above all, of Indigenous peoples. By studying the particular case of Tuvalu and how the terms “environmental refugee” and “migration” are perceived by Tuvaluans, this article illustrates how flexible regional and bilateral agreements could more effectively lead to respect and protection of ties to the land and community.

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