Human mobility in the Anthropocene

Perspectives from UN Environment

Authored by: Oli Brown , Brian Wittbold

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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Human-caused environmental change and environmental degradation – desertification, deforestation, land degradation, ocean acidification, climate change and water scarcity – are fundamentally redrawing the map of our world. The links between the environment and displacement are multi-directional and complex. However, policy makers are recognizing that environmental degradation and mismanagement can be root causes of populations’ deprivation, destitution and vulnerability, ultimately contributing to the desperation that fuels forced migration. Not only do environmental factors have the potential to contribute to migration and displacement, but they also emerge as consequences of population movement. As such, the environmental dimensions of migration and displacement manifest themselves differently across ecosystems and countries of origin, transit and destination. Addressing such displacement could prove to be a defining environmental management challenge of the twenty-first century. A global environmental challenge of this nature requires a truly global response. The United Nations Environment Programme is the advocate for, and expert, on environmental matters within the United Nations system. The environmental community of which UN Environment is a part has an important role to play in minimizing the ecological drivers of displacement and strengthening the capacity of communities to withstand shocks from environmental change.

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