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Mayer B.,National University of Singapore | Mayer B.,ll Center for International Sustainable Development Law
Asia Pacific Journal of Environmental Law | Year: 2013

The Asia-Pacific region is particularly concerned by forecasts that hundreds of million persons would be displaced by the mid-century 'because of' environmental change, given the high density of population in low-lying coastal areas and mega-deltas (for example, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Mekong), the high vulnerability of low-lying island developing states (for example, the Maldives, Tuvalu) and the low development of many of those regions. A journalistic but also academic discourse has developed to claim that the international community should protect the 'climate refugees', through extending or replicating the 1951 Geneva Convention on (political) refugees to those displaced by climate change-related environmental changes. However, many field studies have shown that environmental changes do not directly cause specific individual migration, but rather exacerbate existing migration flows. Rejecting the approach of a universal convention, a growing academic consensus is that regional institutions may be more efficient to deal with specific situations. In this context, this article argues that the Asia-Pacific region may play a leading role in defining an international governance of climate migration. It suggests a model of supra-national regional governance, which could serve as benchmarks, along with a multi-civilisational forum to work towards universal standards. © Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law 2013. Source

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