Climate Migration Governance

  • Benoît Mayer
Living reference work entry


This chapter engages with the current political and academic debate on the governance of “climate migration.” It highlights the difficulties of ascribing a unique cause to migration and questions the relevance of distinguishing “climate migration” from other forms of migration. It then exposes the opportunities and challenges of this concept for international cooperation. Finally, it assesses the potential of different policy options. Despite the difficulties related to the attribution of migration to a unique driver, the concept of “climate migration” appears as a powerful communicative strategy to trigger important international and domestic actions with regard to climate change adaptation and to the protection of the rights of migrants, even though a specific legal regime remains unlikely and perhaps undesirable.


Climate migration Governance Multicausality Norm entrepreneurship 


  1. Bell D (2004) Environmental refugees: what rights? Which duties? Res Publ 10:135–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Betts A (2013) Survival migration: failed governance and the crisis of displacement. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  3. Biermann F, Boas I (2010) Preparing for a warmer world: towards a global governance system to protect climate refugees. Glob Environ Polit 10:60–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Black R (2001) Environmental refugees: myth or reality? UNHCR Working Paper on New Issues in Refugee Research No. 34Google Scholar
  5. Brindal E (2007) Asia Pacific: justice for climate refugees. Altern Law J 32:240–241Google Scholar
  6. Brown O (2007) Eating the dry season: labour mobility as a coping strategy for climate change. In: IISD (International Institute for Sustainable Development), Winnipeg, Manitoba, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  7. Caney S (2005) Cosmopolitan justice, responsibility, and global climate change. Leiden J Int Law 18:747–775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carens J (1987) Aliens and citizens: the case for open borders. Rev Polit 49:251–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crawford N (2006) How previous ideas affect later ideas. In: The Oxford handbook of context political analysis. Oxford University Press, Oxford. p 266Google Scholar
  10. Crépeau F (2012) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants: climate change and migration. UN General Assembly, doc. A/67/299Google Scholar
  11. Crépeau F (2013) Report by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants: global migration governance. UN General Assembly, doc. A/68/283Google Scholar
  12. CRIDEAU (2008) Draft convention on the international status of environmentally-displaced persons. Rev Droit Univ Sherbrooke 39:451–505Google Scholar
  13. EACH-FOR (2009) Synthesis report of the research project. European Commission, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  14. Elliott L (2010) Climate migration and climate migrants: what threat, whose security? In: McAdam J (ed) Climate change and displacement: multidisciplinary perspectives. Hart, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  15. Farbotko C (2005) Tuvalu and climate change: constructions of environmental displacement in the “Sydney Morning Herald”. Geogr Ann Ser B Hum Geogr 87:279–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fassin D (2012) Humanitarian reason: a moral history of the present. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  17. Foresight (2011) Migration and global environmental change: final project report. The Government Office for Science, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Gardiner S (2011) A perfect moral storm: the ethical tragedy of climate change. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gemenne F (2010) Tuvalu, un laboratoire du changement climatique? Rev Tiers Monde 204:89–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. GHA (2013) Global humanitarian assistance report 2013. Development Initiatives, Bristol, UKGoogle Scholar
  21. Hartmann B (2010) Rethinking climate refugees and climate conflict: rhetoric, reality and the politics of policy discourse. J Int Dev 22:233–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hathaway JC (1990) A reconsideration of the underlying premise of refugee law. Harv Int Law J 31:129–183Google Scholar
  23. Hathaway JC (2005) The rights of refugees under international law. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. HRC (2008) Human rights and climate change. Human Rights Council Resolution 7/23Google Scholar
  25. HRC (2009) Human rights and climate change. Human Rights Council Resolution 10/4Google Scholar
  26. HRC (2011) Human rights and the environment. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/11Google Scholar
  27. Hugo G (1996) Environmental concerns and international migration. Int Migr Rev 30:105–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hugo G (2011) Future demographic change and its interactions with migration and climate change. Glob Environ Chang 21(1):S21–S33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ielemia A (2007) A threat to our human rights: Tuvalu’s perspective on climate change. UN Chron 44:18Google Scholar
  30. ILC (2001) Draft articles on responsibility of states for internationally wrongful acts. Yearbook of the International Law Commission, doc. A/56/10Google Scholar
  31. IPCC (2014) Working group I contribution to the IPCC fifth assessment report: the physical science basis. International Panel on Climate Change, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  32. Kälin W (2010) Conceptualizing climate-induced displacement. In: McAdam J (ed) Climate change and displacement: multidisciplinary perspectives. Hart, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  33. Kälin W (2012) From the Nansen principles to the Nansen initiative. Forced Migr 41:48–49Google Scholar
  34. Kysar DA (2011) What climate change can do about tort law. Environ Law 41:1Google Scholar
  35. Lee E (1966) A theory of migration. Demography 3:47–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lubkemann S (2008) Involuntary immobility: on a theoretical invisibility in forced migration studies. J Refug Stud 21:454–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mayer B (2011) The international legal challenges of climate-induced migration: proposal for an international legal framework. Colo J Int Environ Law Policy 22:357–416Google Scholar
  38. Mayer B (2012a) Fraternity, responsibility and sustainability: the international legal protection of climate (or environmental) migrants at the crossroads. Supreme Court Law Rev Can 56:723Google Scholar
  39. Mayer B (2012b) Environmental migration in the Asia-Pacific region: could we hang out sometime? Asian J Int Law 3:101–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mayer B (2014) “Environmental migration” as advocacy: is it going to work? Refuge Can J Refug 29:2–27Google Scholar
  41. McAdam J (2011) Swimming against the tide: why a climate change displacement treaty is not the answer. Int J Refug Law 23:2–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McAdam J (2012) Climate change, forced migration, and international law. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McAdam J (2007) Complementary protection in international refugee law. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Morrissey J (2009) Environmental change and forced migration: a state of the art review. Refugee Studies Center, Oxford Department of International Development, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  45. Myers N (1993) Environmental refugees in a globally warmed world. BioScience 43:752–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Myers N (2002) Environmental refugees: a growing phenomenon of the 21st century. Phil Trans R Soc Biol Sci 357:609–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Myers N (2007) Interview. Reported in Christian Aid (2007) Human tide: the red migration crisis. LondonGoogle Scholar
  48. Nicholson C (2014) Climate change and the politics of causal reasoning: the case of climate change and migration. Geogr J 180:2–151Google Scholar
  49. Nordhaus W (2007) A review of the Stern review on the economics of climate change. J Econ Lit 45:686–702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. OHCHR (2009) Report of the Office of the UN OHCHR on the relationship between climate change and human rights. High Commissioner for Human Rights, doc. A/HRC/10/61Google Scholar
  51. Posner E, Weisbach D (2010) Climate change justice. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  52. Rousseau (1756) Letter to Voltaire (trans: Spang R). Reproduced in∼enltnmt/texts/JJR%20letter.html
  53. Shue H (1999) Global environment and international inequality. Int Aff 75:531–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Singer P (2004) One world: the ethics of globalization. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  55. Söderblom JD (2008) Climate change: national and regional Security threat multiplier for Australia. Secur Solut 52:58Google Scholar
  56. UN Secretary General (2009) Climate change and its possible security implications. UN General Assembly, doc. A/64/350Google Scholar
  57. UNFCCC (2010) Cancun agreements: outcome of the work of the ad hoc working group on long-term cooperative action under the convention. In: 16th conference of the parties to the UN framework convention on climate change, decision 1/CP.16, CancunGoogle Scholar
  58. UNFCCC (2012) Approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change to enhance adaptive capacity. In: 18th conference of the parties to the UN framework convention on climate change, decision 3/CP.18, DohaGoogle Scholar
  59. UNU (2012) Where the rain falls: global policy report. United Nations University, BonnGoogle Scholar
  60. Wexler L (2003) The international deployment of shame, second-best responses, and norm entrepreneurship: the campaign to ban landmines and the landmine ban treaty. Ariz J Int Comp Law 20:561Google Scholar
  61. Yonetani M (2013) Global estimates 2012: people displaced by disasters. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations