Migration, Development and Environment

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This book explores the conceptual framework of the interrelationships between migration, environment and development, which are among the most pressing issues on the contemporary global agenda. After a conceptualization of this relationship, the paper treats, in a depth analysis with tables and figures, main issues such as: environment as cause of migration in case of environmental disasters and environmental degradation; climate change and migration; displacement by large projects and impacts of migration on destination environments. The implications these have for policy are also considered.



Conclusions and policy implications

The causes and effects of environmental deterioration in LDCs cannot be quarantined within the national boundaries of individual nations. It is clear that much contemporary environmental degradation in LDCs has its real roots in historical processes such as colonial exploitation which produced different modes of agricultural and pastoral activity to meet the needs of the colonial power and different patterns of population growth and distribution from those which prevailed in precolonial times. Similarly, international inequalities in power, access to resources, unequal terms of trade, etc., have all been influential in shaping patterns of land use and settlement in LDCs, as have the interventions of international companies and agencies. Moreover, the consequences of deforestation, pollution, etc., are not confined to single nations. The rapid depletion of rainforests in a few countries like Brazil and Indonesia, for example, has climate change and loss of biodiversity implications which are global. The clear message, not only from the IPCC but from as far back as the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and the 1987 publication of the World Commission on Environment and Development report, Our Common Future, is that achieving ecologically sustainable development demands action at the global level as well as the national and individual levels. Successfully tackling many of the environment problems of LDCs and MDCs will require a global approach, and central to this is the pressing need to eradicate poverty so that people can have access to the resources to live sustainably. This will demand several redistributions from MDCs to LDCs through changes in international power, trade and aid relationships. In short, the environmental pressures which are increasingly the cause and consequence of population movements in LDCs should not be seen as exclusively the problems of the individual countries involved since those pressures have been caused partly by forces outside the country and they have consequences which extend beyond the borders of those countries.


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