Climate-induced community relocations

Institutional challenges and human rights protections

Authored by: Robin Bronen

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Displacement and Migration

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194465
eBook ISBN: 9781315638843
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews key challenges and considerations with respect to planned relocations of populations exposed to adverse impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, drawing upon the example of small coastal villages in Alaska. In many of these villages such as Newtok, the majority of the population is Indigenous and tribal governments work with state, federal and non-governmental organizations in attempting to secure funding and to coordinate efforts to overcome the many institutional and statutory hurdles to relocation that meets the long-term needs of residents. The process is slow, and requires those involved to be innovative and collaborative, and treat relocation as being linked to community adaptation processes. The chapter reflects on the connections between relocation processes and important policy and legal considerations including human rights, the Guiding Principles on Internal displacement, and a state’s duty to protect its citizens.

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