The Commonwealth comprises a significant number of states that will be affected by the migratory consequences of climate change, including a number of small island states. On 14 May the Ramphal Commission on Migration and Development heard evidence from academics about the implications of migration for the Commonwealth, exploring the possibility that migration – or certain aspects of migration – might offer the organisation a unifying theme for the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Australia in 2011. As I argued to the Commission, it is important that the focus remains not on ‘climate refugees’ or ‘environmental displacement’ per se but rather on the broader issue of ’survival migration’.
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April 14, 2009 / migration
The global refugee regime does not and cannot adequately address the needs of millions of survival migrants fleeing collapsed states such as Zimbabwe. As well as being a regional crisis, the situation of millions of Zimbabwean migrants in Southern Africa highlights the need to reform the international institutional framework for the protection of vulnerable undocumented migrants fleeing the consequences of economic and social catastrophe.
A confluence of factors appears to be driving debate on the linkage between climate change and migration – but sound empirical evidence certainly is not one of them, writes Alexander Betts, director of GEG’s Global Migration Governance programme.