Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Displacement: a Multi-track Approach to Filling the Protection Gaps

  • Citation: Kolmannskog, Vikram, and Lisetta Trebbi. “Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Displacement: a Multi-Track Approach to Filling the Protection Gaps.” International Review of the Red Cross (2005) 92, no. 879 (September 2010): 713–30.
    • Topics:
    • Transnational Issues
    • Keywords:
    • international law
    • climate change
    • humanitarian aid
    • displaced persons
    • disaster relief

Millions are displaced by climate-related disasters each year, and this trend is set to increase as climate change accelerates. It raises important questions about how well existing instruments actually protect people driven from their homes by climate change and natural disasters. This article first examines current protection instruments and points out gaps in them. There follows an exploration of various proposals for filling those protection gaps, with the focus on cross-border natural-disaster-induced displacement. A multi-track approach is recommended, including context-oriented and dynamic interpretation of existing law, and creation of new law. Adhering to the principle of non-refoulement, and focusing on whether return is possible, permissible, or reasonable, could be a realistic way to begin developing protection regimes for victims of natural-disaster-induced displacement.

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