What is Climigration?

This chapter provides a study of the relationship between climate change and refugees. It is well-known that people have migrated and taken refuge through the ages for many reasons. These reasons include political, economic, social, cultural and environmental causes. In this study, the author focuses on how climate change will have more devastating impacts than wars. One of the biggest problems linked to climate change will be climate refugees. Political and ethnic conflicts, disasters and erosions of ecological and socio-cultural environments have continued to produce masses of refugees globally. As explained by the United Nations Refugee Convention from 1951 says that a refugee is any person who seeks refuge, ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion’. The author wants to stress the fact that climate change is not yet included in the list of reasons to gain a refugee status; it means climate refugee and climate refuge seeking are still theoretical concepts. What is worth noting is that climate change is happening and climate refugees are part of our reality. Bronen has adopted the term climigration when dealing with forced permanent migration of communities due to climate change. If we consider the reasons why the United High Commissioner for Refugees is reluctant to include climate refugees, it is inevitable to understand that refugees have a special status which allow them to access to services and resources in the resettlement country. The chapter is finalized to identify a model to turn chaotic climate refuge seeking into planned climate migration by learning from history. The methodology adopted in the chapter is based on qualitative case studies derived from literature and compiled into a framework. The consequences will be economic, social and cultural. However, some countries are adopting particular legal tools to recognize climate refuges) think about Sweden and Finland, for example). Among the conclusions of the article it is very interesting to notice the fact that climate change migration naturally erodes the position of indigenous peoples further both as involuntary recipients of climigrants or clirefugees. It seems climigration opens up to a new perspective on indigenous rights: the rights of the original, majority inhabitants of the ordinary villages, municipalities, towns, cities and nations of the destinations of the climigrants. So far migrants have constituted a minority of the population of their host countries, and even the number of refugees, fleeing in millions from countries like Syria have remained small, maximum 0.1–0.5 per cent of the population in most receiving countries – only in the neighbouring country, Lebanon, have refugee numbers totalled up to 25 per cent of the population. When climate change induced migration or refuge seeking starts in earnest, it will turn the tables: the inhabitants of the countries of destination could become minority groups with the massive numbers of climigrants or clirefugees becoming the majority groups. Every nation wishes to protect its own citizens, it is well-known, and for this reason there is the need to be extremely careful when dealing with such a hot topic that will change the global dynamics. Whatever the global governance decisions are, comprehensive international cooperation between all countries in the world is fundamental. The global community needs to share the burdens caused by global climate change by preventing and mitigating environmental shocks and stresses as well as by opening migration channels for the temporarily, longer-term and permanently displaced clirefugees/climigrants.