Mar 14

Roadmap towards an International Convention on Climate Refugees

Speaker: El Hassane Bendahmane (1)

bendahmaneSynopsis: After demonstrating the specific nature of Climate change refugees (hereinafter referred to as Climate refugees) compared with the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 amendment, and the Environmental refugees, the author links the objectives of the climate refugees to the international community’s commitment to take the required measures for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Studies indicate that Climate refugees will reach 230 million by 2050. These refugees can play a key role in mitigating and in adapting to climate change over the next few decades, provided some of the yearly 100 billion dollars pledged in COP21 are allotted to the socioeconomic programmes geared to mitigation and adaptation, and are implemented mostly for and by climate refugees. The author also suggests a road map for negotiating (scientific, political and legal), finalising and implementing the climate refugee convention, including the funding mechanisms options, the institutional arrangements, and Marrakech as the city for the Secretariat.

(1) El Hassane Bendahmane has worked for seventeen years with the United Nations Environment Program, until his retirement in 2002. During those years, he held several positions, the latest being Chief, Department of Environmental Policy Analysis and Development, where he was supervising five units, including the climate change unit. The most instructive and challenging position was when Mr. Bendahmane served as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director, Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba, who is one of the most knowledgeable and strategic environmental leaders in the world. Having served in his cabinet has enabled Mr. Bendahmane to gain a bird’s eye view of the major international environmental challenges and opportunities, as well as a close observation and involvement in delicate negotiations on multi-faceted environmental issues.

Keywords : adaptation to climate change; climate refugees; international cooperation; international negotiations; human rights; mitigating climate change.


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  2. Bonnie Docherty, Tyler Giannini: Confronting a Rising Tide: a proposal for a convention on climate change refugees. Harvard Environmental Review, 2009, vol. 33, Pp. 349-403
  1. Frank Biermann, Ingrid Boas: Preparing for a warmer world: towards a global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees. Global Environmental Politics, vol. 10, number 1, February 2010
  2. Migration, Droits de l’Homme et Developpement. university Mohammed V, Souissi, 2010
  3. Manual on Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Encironmental Agreements. UNEP, 2006.