Climate change has consequences beyond environmental
The environmental crises that the island countries are experiencing have generated new waves of migration. The evacuations and the movement of people to other countries because of the climatic effects is increasing. Therefore, the term environmental refugee has emerged in recent decades; however, for international law, refugee status must be given to people fleeing their countries due to persecution, war, or violence.
For this reason, there are currently countries that have recognized climate change as a cause for seeking asylum, as in the case of New Zealand. On the other hand, the erosion and damage of agricultural land caused by floods have endangered the execution of traditional activities, which has affected the economic dynamism of several islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Islands that are in danger of disappearing
The threat of disappearing due to climate change is suffered by a large part of the islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific. However, there are some where the danger is increasingly latent. Kiribati and the Maldives are examples of this.
According to several reports, Kiribati could be the first country to disappear due to the rise in sea level. For this reason, the government announced several years ago the purchase of 6000 hectares in Fiji as a flood contingency plan.
For its part, Maldives, another of the nations that can disappear, is taking measures to mitigate the problems caused by rising sea levels. One of the strategies undertaken is the construction of artificial islands. According to the RT news portal, the project will be executed by a Dutch company.
Institutionality of the Small Island States
Given the great problem that the island countries are experiencing, the governments of the affected nations met and created, in 1990, the Alliance of Small Island States. The objective is to fight as a group facing the challenges shared by the members of the organization. The coalition's task is to sensitize the international system about the consequences of CO2 emissions in maritime territories and lead synergies to adopt measures that mitigate the effects of climate change in the world.
Climate change is real
In the last 30 years, the rise in sea level and the problems generated by environmental disasters have become the main issues on the national security agendas of different nations. According to a report published by El Espectador, the sea level has increased 82.8 mm since the end of the 20th century to date, according to NASA data, making sea level rise the greatest concern for many States.
According to predictions made by the National Geographic channel, the problems caused by the warming of the world will be magnified and will be of greater proportions if no measures are taken in the matter. The situation would be aggravated by the continuous increase in temperature caused by the melting of glaciers and ice sheets, threatening to flood places that are far from the coast, which would affect aquifers, agricultural soils, and habitats.
LatinAmerican Post | Bryan Andrés Murcia
Translated from “Refugiados ambientales: Cuando el cambio climático provoca crisis migratorias”