Re-examining displacement in the context of disasters and climate change: A Pacific perspective

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This panel problematises and critiques the notion of ‘displacement’ in the context of disasters and climate change. While the threat posed by climate change is real, its manifestations are not as straightforward as we might think. For instance, the idea that rising sea levels will displace millions of people and create ‘climate refugees’ is a popular trope, but it has little evidential grounding. Within the Pacific, multiple and diverse types of mobility, as well as immobility, have been used as coping strategies over centuries. This panel explores how a more nuanced understanding of displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, and its relationship to international protection, can open up possibilities for different kinds of durable solutions. The Kaldor Centre hosted the Asia-Pacific component of a global conference held on 21 January 2021 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The conference was a partnership between UNHCR and the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN), established under the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees.

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