Academic journal article Refuge

Location Security and Environmental-Induced Displacement: A Case Study of the Riverine Islands in Bangladesh

Academic journal article Refuge

Location Security and Environmental-Induced Displacement: A Case Study of the Riverine Islands in Bangladesh

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article examines how environmentally induced shocks may give rise to migration. It introduces the concept of "location security" to describe the uncertainties facing people in potentially threatened areas and the complex effects of their anticipated adaptation. It argues that location security is determined by a location's resilience to risk, understood in terms of the degree to which a specific region is protected by geographical endowments and has sufficient infrastructure to withstand and recover from the effects of environmental hazards and ensure that rights are protected. It explores actual and anticipated environmental pressures in Bangladesh, the Carteret Islands, and Maldives, and examines mitigation and adaptation responses, including migration. The main findings of this article are that location security is determined by the interaction of environmental and human considerations, above all the impact on livelihoods, and that different forms and durations of migration may result from environmental pressures as well as social, economic, and political factors.

Resume

Cet article examine comment les chocs environnementaux donnent lieu a la migration. On y propose le concept de << securite du lieu >> pour decrire les incertitudes auxquelles sont confrontes les populations de zones potentiellement menacees et les effets complexes de leur eventuelle adaptation. On y avance que la securite du lieu se mesure en fonction de la resilience de la zone consideree, determine par Vimportance de sa protection par des subventions territoriales, par la presence d'infra structure permettant de soutenir les risques environnementaux et de sen remettre, et par la mesure dans laquelle les droits sont proteges. Cet article explore les pressions environnementales actuelles et a venir au Bangladesh, dans les ties Carteret et aux Maldives, ainsi que les reponses d'attenuation et d'adaptation, incluant la migration. On en conclut que la securite du lieu est determinee par les interactions entre les considerations environnementales ethumaines, au premier chef Vimpact sur les moyens de subsistance, et que des migrations de formes et de durees diverses peuvent resulter de pressions environnementales, comme des pressions sociales, economiques et politiques.

Introduction

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that the greatest single impact of climate change could be on human migration. It described the prospect of millions of people displaced by coastal erosion, flooding, and drought, and highlighted the dangers of soil erosion, increased salinization, pollution, and overall deterioration of agricultural lands. (1) These anticipated effects are especially pertinent to many developing countries, above all those located in Asia and Africa. (2) Asia, already the most populated region experiencing unprecedented levels of migration, is especially vulnerable to natural disasters, and there is marked variation in the degree to which states are able to cope. (3) UN data show a growing number of people affected by natural disasters in some of the most vulnerable regions of China and Thailand. (4) While there is uncertainty over the causes for extreme weather events, there is consensus that marked changes in climatic activity have reduced access to natural resources and have destabilized systems of economic production and survival, which have in turn encouraged migration from these areas. (5)

This article examines how environmentally induced shocks may give rise to migration. A central concept employed in this article is the notion of "location security," which describes the uncertainties facing people in potentially threatened areas and the complex effects of their anticipated adaptation. Location security recognizes the complex interaction of multiple factors in the creation of both human and environmental vulnerabilities and builds on the notion of human security by emphasizing the importance of place as a geographical context for the realization of rights, including access to economic and social resources. …

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