Subject: Environmental Law

Topic: Environmental Refugees: Does Global Environmental Law Offer Enough Legal Protection?

The United Nations defines a refugee as a person who leaves their country due to fear of being persecuted because of their gender, religion of other differences. Since the basic understanding of refugees is that one is forced to flee their country, then environmental refugees can be defined as people who are forced to flee their homes or countries due to natural activities that are caused by either nature or peoples activities. This migration may either be temporary or permanent, depending on the degree of damage caused. In this time and age, the term “environmental refugee” has greatly gained significance and recognition in most places of the world. This is especially due to climate changes caused by global warming. A factor resulting from global warming is the case of desertification in several countries. Degradation of arable land to deserts is common where heat is immense and water is a scarce resource. Such situations are hardly controllable by mankind, presenting a nature force ejecting people from these parts.

Often one may come across an article talking about difficulties which people experience. These include the livelihoods of people whose homes and properties have been damaged by any unexpected natural occurrence. (Clark, 2010), Environmental awareness has globally resurfaced in the eyes of the people, as it is now clearer that changes in climate and other areas of the earth are happening so fast and that it is only a matter of time that the earth’s face changes, possibly for the worst. This awareness has been propelled by the media and policymakers, making academic institutions further stressing on the issue. This concern has widely spurred at this time since, with the continuing unknown change in climate and the earth’s surface, sooner or later people may be largely affected and displaced, the vulnerability being highest to those living in the developing world. With the awareness of these changes, several publications, books and articles have been made. Though they show the reasons behind certain behaviour of people’s migration, most are limited to only cover the dramatic and widely felt events. These are such as hurricane Katrina and high magnitude earthquakes. The ignorance and little attention to low environmental change forms may limit the control of number of environmental refugees, making it a vulnerable situation for those on the verge of being displaced.

Does Global Environmental Law Offer Enough Legal Protection?

Experts predict that by 2020, there will be approximately twenty million environmental refugees, (Norman, 2002).When natural disasters strike the earth, earthquakes, floods or storms, several people may be displaced. Their homes and possibly all their property are lost in these unfortunate events. If these people are not offered help from any international organizations or well-wishers in time, the most probable scenario would be an increase in the number of such refugees, causing the number to surpass, what organizations and governments can handle, in terms of providing aid. An example of a natural case triggered by people is that of population. Where people in an area are continually growing, beyond its sustainability several disasters may arise from this. The most common case would be deforestation, especially if land for settlement and small scale farming is a scarce resource. This creates a “survival for the fittest” scenario, making people owe to poverty and drought. These people would have to consider other means of survival, the widest option being to leave their motherland and search for places that are more favourable.

  Until around the 1960s, no particular international agreements had been made. This did little to protect the environment. (Alexander, ET at., 2007), in this world environmental conference of 1972, the United Nations argued on the basis that man shapes the environment, particularly his own. This gives him sustenance and the opportunity for setting moral, spiritual and social standards. Through the evolution stages mankind has gone through, it has reached a point that science and technology can be easily used to enhance and change the environment as man wishes. This may happen on a wide scale, if uncontrollably used, transform the environment into different ways which may cause unrest to people, (Alexander, ET at., 2007). The environment issue should be considered as a matter of interest to all people, including all governments in the world considering that any change in the environment may affect the well-being of people and consequently the growth of several economies. With this duty at hand, the governments should consider formulating protection of human environment from being damaged or causing of damage to anyone through alters.

The international environmental laws were set up around the 1960s but properly formulated in the 1970s as part of the public international laws. After the Stockholm Conference in 1972, interest on protecting the environment was steadily increasing among nations, making this one of the fastest growing international law. Some of the important environmental aspects covered in this law include global warming, destruction of the ozone layer, desertification and deforestation, especially the depletion of tropical rain forests, pollution, and transportation of hazardous commodities and the trade of merchandise from endangered animal or plant species, such as ivory. The international environmental law has also taken charge of some international laws such as human rights and business trade, dictating them in a way that is not harmful to the human environment. The environment has been protected in more ways other than this. These are such as treaties and agreements made by governments, international organizations and international laws that are put in place for the protection of the environment. For the laws to be well implemented at the ground level, countries have put up local municipal regulations that govern the protection of the environment.

The 21st century has seen environmental change become widespread on both global and regional levels. The International Environmental Law emphasizes that environmental damage caused by the increasing rate of development may approach economic and environmental limit causing an unsustainable threat, (Nanda V. & Pring, 2012). In today’s rapid increase in environmental disasters, the international environmental law seeks to assess the effectiveness of the current laws. There is also importance in making the world policy makers aware of the role they can play in making sure that high governance and implementation of laws is enforced for better development of the world as a whole, (Kenji Watanabe & Saeko Ikeda, 2010). Unfortunately, as the environmental laws continue to be refined, more hazards and challenges continue to emerge, causing a setback for the implementation of these laws.

A conference on environmental change and human rights was held on December 2012. At this discussion, the rights of the environmental refugees were looked at into depth, revealing their legal and economic status. The migration of these refugees being highly associated with environmental changes, the basic agenda to focus on was that of neglect of human rights. The aim of this conference was to consider human rights, bringing them together and creating a different perspective that relates easily with people and organizations. This was especially with respect to people’s displacements through environmental changes.

In the past, policy makers may have neglected or failed to consider certain consequences when laying up the environmental laws and tracking them to keep up their consistent significance. Treaty congestion may have risen from this, creating a more complex situation between international and national relations, where low cohesion among international and national laws was experienced, playing a huge role in the ineffectiveness of the laws. Existence of treaty congestion may cause disagreements on funding mechanisms, inconsistent agreements and incapacitate agreements depending on the challenge that each country faces.

The environmental degradation has recently come into the light and realized by organizations around the world. This has also come with its negative effects, where the number of environmental refugees has increased rapidly in the previous years. Several attention measures should be considered to those people who are made to flee their homes unwillingly by the harsh natural disasters that seem to happen rather frequent than they would be expected. (Sven Pfeiffer, 2008)

Why is it Necessary to Provide Environmental Refugees with sufficient Protection?

The question of environmental refugees getting legal protection from the environmental laws has majorly raised eyebrows as most people would argue that if so, then the protection of their rights has not been done adequately.(Christen Cournil, 2009), All around the world, with the issue of environmental degradation becoming a major crisis for this 21st century, reports from several organizations, agencies as well as academic researchers have been generated to define and discuss how the legal protection of environmental migrants has been achieved. Though this much attention has been put on this matter, still there has not been any relevant legal protection to environmental refugees especially those from the developing world. Therefore, the degree of relevance and reality of issues being discussed should be targeted to where they impact so as to make a difference and avoid the 21st century crises that are developing by the day.

A failure on the part of the international environmental laws is the lack of regulating the number of environmental refugees that settle in a particular country or area. In the previous years, the world has generally experienced a series of natural disasters in which most are caused by climate change. This may persist or get worse, so long as no appropriate measures are taken to control the climate change. (DW Akademie), Statistics from expert researchers are that, between a hundred thousand to two hundred thousand Somali refugees have fled to Kenya due to the unbearable climatic conditions in Somalia. Though war was the major drive force of these migrations, a major role was greatly influenced by drought and famine that was persistent in the area. Most of the families there survive on nomadism and since most of the animals had died as a result of these conditions, they could not stay within their boundaries anymore and so they had to abandon their plight. Since there is little agreement on the way that is best to address the issue of climate change, migration displacement and protection of the migrants, there is a gap with respect to displacement and cross-border migration (Walter Kalin & Nina Schrepfer, 2012).

Conferences on issues of international refugees have been held to talk about the welfare of these refugees. (Walter Kalin) says that there is a lot of resistance to the legal agreements that have been made by the international community. He notes that countries which have absorbed a lot of refugees, and have actually been affected by the sudden influx have the fear to take in more people. This may not come out obviously but the risk of destroying the economy of a country stands at its peak, where voluminous migration is a common day’s event. Some adaptation strategies could be developed to put such pressure at ease. The international community agreed that countries, especially those in the southern, may have to consider adapting to climate change and also adapt protective means from natural disasters. Other than the international measures, easier local solutions have been formulated to also help deal with such situations. With the increase in global warming, the earth’s temperature also increases gradually by the day. This may immensely disadvantage farmers especially those that grow crops that require less heat as their favourable conditions. In this case, it is up to a country to take responsibility and track the right initiatives to follow in making sure that local solutions are formulated and successfully implemented. This may boost the country’s economy and additionally reduce the number of environmental migrants that would otherwise be a bigger problem.

(Frank & Ingrid, 2008), in August 2006, a meeting by representatives of governments was organized. Also, representatives from United Nations, humanitarian organizations as well as other relevant non-governmental organizations were invited to the meeting. The main agenda was to tackle the issue of protection of environmental refugees. For some countries this issue is of great concern and mostly national recognition. These countries, such as the Maldives are located offshore and slightly above the sea levels, hence being the most prone to natural disasters. In such countries, the economic growth and stability may weaken due to frequent environmental refugees who depend solely on aid, be it from government or any organization willing to help. Though at the moment, environmental refugees may not seem of international concern, the meeting was set to address the adverse effect that would later be experienced by other countries. With the increasing change in climate, most of these island countries may end up being completely uninhabitable. Furthermore, the increasing migration caused by climate change, may later become a global threat issue if not solved early in time. (Frank & Ingrid, 2008), state that by 2050, more than 200 million people would have to give up their homes. These statistics may not be entirely correct but the error-margin was greatly reduced as several factors relating to climate change and human migration were accurately considered. These are global warming and temperature increase, population and economic growth, rise of sea level and peoples activities that impact the environment.

In handling environmental refugees and their legal protection, the issue has been poorly handled over time by the relevant organizations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) can only deal with up to ten million refugees. If by any chance the number would slightly increase, consequent environmental and economic threats may spur, leading the world to a dangerous state. To avoid such situations, major reforms should be put into place to ensure that none of these happens. Thus, in the meeting held at Maldives, August 2006, amendments relating to the refugee status were made, altering the mandate that the United Nations was required to meet. The amendment may not have been as effective as expected, considering the poor state of the environmental refugees and their increasing number.

In the protection of the rights of the environmental refugees, special funding may be required and so governments of every country should set aside refugee funding, while structuring their countries budgets. Special funding mechanism should also be considered, to provide efficient means of disseminating the funds to those who need them most. In governance of the refugee funds, an independent authority should take charge. To increase the refugee protection funds considerations should be made in coupling them with the current financial mechanisms, such as levies and cross-border charges, be it trade of travel.

Environmental law is made up of policies set to protect the environment, natural resources and the people affected by impact of human activities to the environment. It is also made up of international as well as national agreements, treaties and policies. The law, within the environmental law, is administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to make sure that people’s health and the natural environment are protected, ( Global Legal Resources).

A report has been released by the European parliament aimed at ways in which European nations could offer protection to people displaced due to environmental changes. The report shows that there exists a gap in legal protection such as protection of people crossing border lines in climatic change context.  However, some disagree saying the new international treaty is undesirable. This hence causes examination of existing law application and how it could be extended in support of the climatic and environmental refugees. According to the Directorate General for Internal Policies of the European parliament, climate change could lead to changing migration patterns and exacerbation on existing pressures of migration. Also, there are various several available options such as renegotiation of the refugees’ convention which are a problem and with options which extend existing protection.

Reasons for Writing this Paper

There is complexity however in the impacts caused by climatic changes and migration with it being clear that it increased mobility and altered exit migratory patterns is influenced highly by climatic changes. Rapid onset events such as cyclones lead to temporary movements with how long displacements are either long or short term depending on the management of the disaster. For more people to return for example, advanced planning and properly devised construction plays a major role. Slow onset events such as desertification and landslides lead to livelihood deterioration over a long period of time and in turn leading to displacements. Due to the changes being slow and the presence of different factors fuelling migration, it gets hard to properly analyse that climate change is the main cause of a particular movement. An exception would be a rise in water at sea level and it is easy to identify those at risk and their reason to move.  However, migration can be seen as a positive migration strategy and should be avoided been seeing as failure to adapt.

There being several gaps in legal protection for immigrants displaced by environmental change there exists several options to improve their protection. An option could be extension of the scope of the 1951 Refugee Convention which may be simple to renegotiate, however, it risks the existing refugees’ status of the convention being devalued. It could lead to weakening of some areas. There exist various proposals aimed at creating an entirely new instrument that is legalised such as that from the Swedish Member of parliament Tina Acketoft and others from law specialists at the University of Limoges amongst others.

There have been suggestions to add new protocol under the law defining and offering protection to people displaced by climatic change. The Cancun adoption framework was adopted in 2011 including a paragraph about climatic changes and displacements which argue thatsmall’s step to work on climatic induced displacement have opened new windows. Temporary protection is offered by most countries for those displaced by natural disasters or conflict. The United States for instance offered protection to the Nicaraguans after Hurricane Mitch and also the Hondurans. Such measures can be amended in order to provide protection for displaced people due to environmental changes but it gets difficult to oversee this through. This is because it applies to only those within the country and not to those affected by slow onset events and those unable to go back.

The international environmental laws were put in place in the year 1960s but correctly formulated in the year 1970s as part of the public intercontinental laws. After the Stockholm Conference in 1972, curiosity on defending the environment was progressively increasing among nations, making this one of the greatest growing global law. In additions, some of the significant environmental aspects covered in this law include global warming, annihilation of the ozone layer, desertification and deforestation, in particular the diminution of humid rain forests, pollution, and transportation of hazardous commodities and the trade of products from scarce animal or plant species, such as ivory. The international environmental law has also taken accuse of some global laws such as human rights and commerce trade, ordering them in a way that is not destructive to the human environment. The environment has been protected in more ways other than this. These are such as treaties and agreements made by governments, international organizations and international laws that are put in place for the protection of the environment. For the laws to be well put into practice at the ground level, countries have put up local community regulations that govern the defence of the environment.

Varying degrees of success have been ascertained to resettling people. Looking at many Pacific Island states, resettlement has been used in response to mineral action due to the risks associated with mines. However, theprojects are in conflict with some of the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement hence in response to these problems brought up by resettlement guidelines drawn by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank’s against resettlement. Vulnerability has to be reduced in implementation of good land management policies in that it should involve building resilience that helps people to stay. This also means reversing and getting rid of policies that harden land management policies with deploying initiative needed for protection of residences at their destinations. For job creation and building infrastructure, projects are required.

However, several aspects of law in the European Union protects refugees, displaced people and migrants with other areas offering protection for those displaced by climatic change. Conceivably, other areas could also provide protection with the existing points of the law falling within four major categories. The first being complementary protection which is a qualification directive identifying those qualifying and those who fail to qualify for international protection with it being unlikely that those displaced by climatic change would therefore qualify for protection under the directive. The directive could however be changed for instance to extend the definition of serious danger to being covered under results of rapid onset of natural disasters and calamities. The Temporary Protection Directive can also offer protection but it only applies to many people and furthermore happens to be granted in circumstances which are exceptional. Whether to grant it or not is fully under the discretion of members of the European Union and cannot be applied for by an individual rather by a group, a large one for that matter. Mainly, to protect displaced people, very few countries have introduced national legislation but however several countries offer legislation that when interpreted in a certain way it could offer protection to them.

According to the European Commission publication of 2009 on Establishment of a joint European Union resettlement programme, in the context of the common European Union Asylum System, the European Union should be more engaged in resettling refugees who are from outside the European Union. For every person resettled, from the European Union compensation can be claimed under the European Refugee Fund Member states with the fund defining several priority categories, especially for which the money is available for vulnerable people. The current categories have been argued to be too rigid and not facilitating for responses to newly arisen needs like displacement of people due to effects of change in climate patterns. The commission suggests regular reviewing and updating of the priorities to facilitate for new changes. Inclusion of such people would prove a financial incentive for countries to offer resettlement.

Human populations are always affected by both slow and sudden onset ecological events which in the last decade and a half have received a relatively high degree of public attention which requires perception and analysis in context of rising awareness and fears linked to the possible causes of climatic change. Bronen, 2009 states that climatic change was only linked to one severe impact which could only be immigration which can be understood as migration induced by climatic factors and change. Some people have been displaced due to shoreline erosion, flooding in coastal areas hence environmental migrants being on the rise and it is perceived that by the year 2050 they would range up to hundreds of millions or even up to a billion by the year 2060.

Migration is usually affected by social, political and economic factors with other factors such as ecological stimuli which are argued to be the sole drivers. There have been various establishments as well as research initiatives aimed at the environmental migration mainly concerning the classification of environmentally induced migration nexus and the severity of ecological factors to making migration decisions. The most recent categorization approach has three main categories.

Environmental emergency migration is the first category with these being those who leave their homes in a move to save their lives. Environmentally forced migration occurs to those who when faced with rapid onset environmental hazards leave in order to escape from further deterioration hazards of the environment. Using the term refugees to refer to people in the two categories, whether climatic or environmental refugees, is highly disregarded since due to legal implications it has misleading implications. In the case where slow onset environmental hazards occur, the urgency to move is not high as compared to those faced by rapid onset environmental hazards and calamities. Environmentally motivated migrants are those who may respond to environmental degradation with migration though it is not a last resort action or an immediate emergency action. The availability of having an alternative livelihood in the case of a slow onset hazard is what differentiates forced and environmentally motivated migrants.

Environmental emergency migrants can turn into environmentally motivated migrants if their impacted areas face rapid and effective social political and economic recovery such that they do not return. An environmental emergency migrant can become an environmentally forced migrant when they fail to return after rather slow and ineffective recovery in general. The recent introduction of the categorization is quite unclear since there are no proper means of defining whether environmental factors are dominant and the things that qualify one as an environmental or non-environmental migrant, all this questions hence in the end become unanswered.

Collection of additional data in order to sharpen the relevant concepts in regard to the empirical basis of environmental immigration is imminent since it still is rather weak. According to the British Foresight Initiative on Migration and Global Environmental Change, 2011 and EACH-FOR, 2009 and other emerging systems of monitoring it is possible to identify carefully trends and global characteristics of environmental migrants.

On observation of current trends of environmental migration, several conclusions can be made such as that the number of people being displaced varies between thirty six million in 2008 and seventeen million in 2009.

In international environmental laws, there is a distinction between hard and soft laws where hard laws refers to principles directly enforceable by both a national or international body while soft laws are mean to be incorporated and influence individual nations to respect various norms and incorporate them. However, despite these agreements at times obliging countries to adopt implementing legislation in a court of law they are not enforceable on their own (Shyam, 2012). The place where one takes a suit with respect to a treaty or convention failing to specify an international forum that has subject matter jurisdiction is the member state’s domestic system. The forum will be unavailable in case the state sued lacks domestic implementation legislation in place to hear the dispute.

When asked why any law is enacted either domestically or internationally, some would state that it is due to being a moral statement concerning intolerable behaviour by society. Others would argue that the reason penalties are attached to breaking of the law is to deter conduct that is considered outlawed. Others when questioned would maintain that presence of law socializes members of society to behave according to a certain ethical code, especially where there are inefficiencies in enforcement. The purpose of international environmental law can either be said to be a moral statement or a deterrence and by others a social tool. Those against it being a moral statement argue whether the many framework conventions are the least bit motivational. Those who think of it as a global community simply put it as the people who like to believe in such things. Regarding it as a deterrence, there comes the questions why there are less international forums aimed at dispute resolution and the lack of more international bodies aimed at empowering enforcement of agreements alongside more substantial requirements and more hard law self-executing agreements. Some ask whether the socialization technique is functioning and whether more nations are environmentally aware.

State parties which are in the in the position of having various obligations under one treaty all depending on how all legislative, judicial and executive bodies implement the treaty and they lie on domestic legislation in implementing and enforcing international environmental agreements. Riche countries are perceived to be at a better position to comply with treaties in relation to the cost and burden on administrators responsible in the creation and implementation of the treaty.

Urgency in the protection of global commons from environmental vandalism acts is growing especially in the twenty first century with the environmental crises that have had idiosyncrasies necessitating implementation of environmental law in a new vision with embracing the global collectives and transaction of national boundaries (Ramlogan, 2002).

Environmental laws have been the main mechanism in addressing and tackling and promoting conservation of natural resources and other environmental control forms addressing the issue of concern relating to the issues of ecological degradation being a global concern. Encompassing hundreds of bothregionaland international treaties alongside thousands of laws and other numerous administrative regulations implemented in more than a hundred and eighty nations globally with multilateral organizations like the United Nations agencies alongside several banks being in the realm of International Environmental Law. Preceding every new treaty before it is globally accepted it is followed by a number of conferences, multiple governments lobbying, drafting of papers by government officials and affected interest groups, back door negotiations, trade and industrial representatives groups, scientists, multilateral organizations and anybody else at stake in the outcome. The ratified treaty on International Environmental Laws is followed by a series of party conferences, secretariat reports and advisory committees’ ad active efforts that are similar and permeate international environmental processes of making of laws. Since the 1972 declaration at Stockholm, the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment, the field of International Environmental Law has faced high salience and commendable growth rate.

However, it is unfortunate that despite the rapid creation of the International Environmental Law body has not either prevented or slowed down significantly the rapidly accelerating world-wide ecological degradation. Proponents of the International Environmental Law body have been said to have a myopic perspective with imaginations of the International Environmental Law succeeding yet in reality it is dying. It is a matter of disagreeing that the paper agreements and accomplishments compared to the actual achievements are uncommon especially in some developing countries and is worth extolling. There exists no clear boundary between where the differences between International and National process of making laws since International Environmental Law leaves off where national law commences. For purpose of meeting obligations put by international agreements, national environmental laws have hence been enacted.

International Environmental Law agreements have been more often than not been conversely modelled after environmental laws of developed states such as the United States of America where the widespread adoption of environmental impact assessment from the National Environmental Agency Policy Act of the year 1970. Many conservational and sustainable developments in legalised mandates arise from requirements maintained by banks of international development, foreign aid programs, and agencies of the United Nations Programmes among other organizations being prerequisites for loans, grants, various alternative forms of economic assistance or technological transfers. In order to seem responsible as members of the community of nations, model environmental laws are enacted by developing nations and states though these copied and architectural laws have little or no impact to both ecological and social circumstances with Third World nations adopting them.

Participation in international conferences relating to environmental issues requires developing countries to demonstrate the appropriate awareness and concerns through ratifying treaties and enacting paper framework of domestic environmental laws. They are also required to address issues affecting national interests. Putting into consideration, these practices and incentives in the aggregate raise suspicion of developing states of having little environmental laws of any kind if not for rather implicit pressures which are exerted by the already developed nations and multilateral institutions. However, these environmental laws are hortatory words unfortunately unless effective implementation takes place though the norm is non-implementation, lack of them being enforced and lack of compliance being so common. In poor nations, there is the illusion of nation and international combination of myopia, idealism and cynicism which induces states into ratification of treaties and enacting domestic laws without the expectation of either environmental laws being enforced poorly there being a very peculiar mixture of a compliance or implementation. There are three general clusters at a high level of generality of reasons of the reason as to why laws are rarely successful in developed states.

International Environmental Law bodies should realise that even the most naïve and enthusiastic proponents that environmental protection due to complexity and cost must be on a continual basis be renewed, revised and maintained. Developing nations lack prerequisites for trained personnel scientific knowledge, managerial expertise, institutional frameworks financial resources and popular support critical and necessary for implementation and offering of effective environmental protection ways on a wide scale. Legal procurements cannot serve as substitutes forth indispensable requirements despite being ambiguous and sweeping.

Despite a variety on United Nations agencies and various building initiatives began by governments of developing nations and other multilateral organizations with few if any attaining any technical, financial or managerial capabilities to implement conservational measures on a broad frontier. Success in absence of these qualities is impossible in spite of the effort pumped in by the government and its people wanting to preserve their national heritage. Inadequate commitments and popular support linked to overwhelming governmental priorities and entrepreneurs in poor nations are virtually set to increase population development opportunities. Those citizens who are overwhelmed and caught up in the everyday activities end up with having all their priorities being economic in an overwhelming manner. Being given such priorities is such a rare occurrence indeed in that there is hindrance on any development project conflicting either nationally or internationally environmental laws. Though as it occurs in most countries due to lack of knowledge of the laws, most people are damaging natural systems and features due to them not being aware of the impact or relevance that the environmental laws being applied nationally and internationally have or their relevance and impact.

Most if not all governments in developing countries lack a systematic manner of implementation and means of monitoring compliance with environmental laws or used for enforcement of laws in a case of lack of compliance to the laws. Despite in some areas having widespread practices of use of environmentally destructive and social disadvantages of use of cyanide and dynamite for fishing, slash and burn as a method of deforestation or water pollution toxically, there is very seldom interference by the governments with flagrant violations for their environmental policies.

In poor nations, governments want to have ratified reasons in plenty for ratification of environmental treaties and in enacting of domestic laws of conservation despite lack of interest in enforcement of such laws (Schraven, 2012). Most governments would like to be identified as responsible members in a community of nations and have the ability to influence and control choices made may turn on the perception being adopted. Participation in efforts of making laws could be said to be advantageous and be deemed significantly important by governments in spite of results being insignificant and irrelevant. Participation in international development proceeding on environmental issues for most if not all third world countries being on an equal footing with developed countries offers them a chance to reinforce their identity and importance internationally. This participation with other developing and developed nations may in most cases influence pursuing of specific interests of national importance as they are perceived by them. Maintenance of adequate environmental protection laws more often than not controls the foreign aid they receive or technical assistance from developed nations and multilateral organizations. An example is that the World Bank requires applicant to have demonstrated through a process of submitting documents where governments possess appropriate legal framework for mandating environmental impact of assessments and mitigation of ecological damage resulting from development projects.

Developing nations also need ratification of International Environmental Laws agreements and enacting environmental law as a bid and precondition in order to obtain trade advantages which are offered by wealthy nations driven by concerns linked to the environment. The North American Free Trade Agreement is an example of such whereby the primary motivation of all the three countries was to put trade and economic growth on a rise though environmentalist in both the United States and Canada put out a threat to The North American Free Trade Agreement that they would derail it unless Mexico upgraded its policies on environmental protection. Mexico adopted strong Lawson pollution control and conservation on paper though legal there has been notable erratic if not illusory implementation.

According to Clark (2010), often one may come across written materials talking about difficulties which people comes across. These include the business of people whose homes and properties have been damaged by any unexpected natural occurrence. Ecological awareness has globally resurfaced in the eyes of the people, as it is now clearer that changes in climate and other areas of the earth are happening so fast and that it is only a matter of time that the earth’s face changes, possibly for the worst. This awareness has been propelled by the media and policymakers, making academic organizations further stressing on the issue. This concern has widely spurred at this time since, with the continuing unidentified change in climate and the earth’s surface, sooner or later people may be mainly affected and displaced, the vulnerability being uppermost to those living in the developing world. With the awareness of these changes, several publications, books and articles have been made. Though, they show the reasons following certain actions of people’s migration, most are limited to only cover the dramatic and widely felt events. These are such as hurricane Katrina and high extent earthquakes. The lack of knowledge and little attention to low environmental change forms may limit the control of number of environmental refugees, making it a vulnerable state of affairs for those on the edge of being emigrant.

Environmental crisis migrants can turn into environmentally enthused migrants if their impacted areas face speedy and successful social, political and economic recuperation such that they do not return. An environmental emergency migrant can become an environmentally forced nomad when they fail to return after rather slow and ineffective recovery in general. The recent introduction of the categorization is quite unclear since there are no proper means of defining whether environmental factors are dominant and the things that qualify one as an environmental or non-environmental migrant, all this questions hence in the end become unanswered. Generally, collection of additional data in order to sharpen the relevant concepts in regard to the empirical basis of environmental immigration is imminent since it still is rather weak.

International Environmental Laws agreements and national conversation laws have been adopted and may defuse publicity and controversial laws that could deter potential investments in the state. Some environmentalists for instance have publicized often the relatively high rates of deforestation especially notable in the state of Sarawak on Borneo in Malaysia which in turn conflicts with the Sarawak government and its attempts to attract tourists by emphasizing possession of the largest and most pristine rain forest areas around the globe (UNHCR, 2002). Irrespective of whether a government wants to possess favourable treatment from either other governments, multilateral organizations or private parties, a visible indication by obtaining paper laws shows seriousness in taking environmental objectives.

Governments may achieve the best of both worlds politically through enacting of strict and firm conservation laws in order to help environmentalists however failure to implement the laws or enforcing them to reduce costs and accommodation of pressures from other business interests. A major point to be kept in mind is that most governments in developing countries may derive benefits resulting from adopting conservation laws having little connection to the ecological and social benefits resulting from protection of the environment. Most of other governments however fail to make any serious attempts to stay in line to their legal obligations.


Afifi TR & Koko.W. 2013. ‘Climate change, migration, and displacementThe Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

Alexander C, & Dinah S, 2007. Guide to International Environmental Law: Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

Christel Cournil, November 28, 2009. Migration and Climate Change: The Question of the Protection of ‘Environmental Refugees’ from the Standpoint of International Law, University of Paris XIII Nord

Clark L. Gray, (January, 2010), Population Reference Bureau: Environmental Refugees or Economic Migrants? Retrieved from

DW Akademie, Environment: Climate Change Refugees Lack Legal Protection, Retrieved from,   

Eco Vitality Combining Conservation and Development in Poor. Causes of Environmental Laws Failures. Retrieved from

Environmental Migration in Southern Africa:

Towards a Proposed Strategy for Action

Ethan H, 2006, Environmental Refugees: How Many, How Bad?

Frank, B, & Ingrid, B, December, 2008. Protecting Climate Refugees: The Case for a Global Protocol, Retrieved from Global Legal Resources, 2003. Environment Law: Guide to Environmental and National Resources Law, Retrieved from

International Environmental Law. Retrieved from

James, M, Rethinking the 'debate on environmental refugees': from 'maximalists and minimalists' to 'proponents and critics'. University of Oxford, U.K, Refugee Studies Centre

Joana, Z, February 22, 2011. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Jürgen, S, Michael, B, & Hans, G, 2010. Climate Change, Human Security and Violent Conflict: Challenges for the Society

Kenji, W, & Saeko, I, December 24, 2010. The Future of International Law: What is the Future for International Environmental Law? N. Redelinghuys & A. J. Pelser (2002) pp. 33-53.

Nanda V. & Pring, 2012.International Environmental Law and Policy for the 21st Century, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston, MA

Norman, M, April, 2002. Environmental Refugees: A Growing Phenomenon of the 21st Century, University of Oxford, Oxford, and U.K

Norman, M, (April 29, 2002), Environmental Refugees: A Growing Phenomenon of the 21st Century

Purokayo, SG 2013, ‘Implications of environmental security-related factors as determinant of residential mobility in Jimeta-Yola, Nigeria’, International Journal of Arts and Commerce, Vol. 2 No. 2 Available from <> accessed 14 March 2013.

Rajendra, R, Dr., 2002. Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 3, 2001-2002. The Environment and International Law: Rethinking the Traditional Approach.

Shawkat, A et al (ed.) 2012, Rout ledge Handbook of International Environmental Law, Rout ledge, New York.

Schraven, B.: Policy Perspective, 2012.Policy Migration for Environmentally Induced Migration. Retrieved from

Shyam; D, 12th July, 2012. International Environmental Law. Retrieved from

Sven, P, (September, 2008), Environmental Refugees: How to Ensure Adequate Legal Protection, University of Bristol

Terminski, B 2012, ‘Towards Recognition and Protection of Forced Environmental Migrants in the Public International Law: Refugee or IDPs Umbrella’, Available from: <> accessed 14 March 2013.

UK Climate Change & Migration Coalition, March 20, 2012. ReportSummary: “Climate Refugees” Legal and Policy Responses to Environmentally Induced Migration. Retrieved from

UNHCR 1951, Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Available from <> accessed 14 March 2013.

Walter, K. & Nina, F, February, 2012. Division of International Protection: Protecting People Crossing Borders in the Context of Climate Change, University of Bern, Switzerland

UNHCR, 2002. A Safety Net,

Disclaimer: provides custom term paper writing/rewriting services inclusive of research material, for assistance purposes only. The term paper should be used with proper reference. © 2012 - 2018 Top Quality Essays Australia Protection Status