Plenary 8.2: Disasters, environment and migration

Chaired and supported by RCC – Rachel Carson Centre, Munich

In recent years there has been a significant world-wide increase in high consequence disasters, extreme events associated with climate change, environmental degradation and ecosystem failure. Poverty, social under-development and fragile statehood too often aggravate these impacts by increasing the vulnerability of people and socio-economic systems – thus contributing to the emergence of humanitarian crises. Moreover, forced migration, social vulnerability and humanitarian crises have contributed to a dramatic change in regional and global mobility patterns, which has already become one of the major effects of the ongoing integration of the world economy. Changing mobility patterns, especially the forced ones, often lead to an erosion of human security in both the countries of origin and the target nations. Political instruments have so far provided inadequate responses to these issues. Hence, there is a need for effective and sustainable global governance of labor mobility, and of displacement and forced migration, especially when disasters, climate change and environmental risks are involved. The current situation suggests that these issues have not been adequately discussed in society at large, and have not been fully understood in interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary ways. History, culture, anthropology and ethics are among the social and human disciplines that have a strong potential to contribute to the debate. There is an urgent need to move the discussion to a new plane and help it inform global decision-making processes.

Bron TAYLOR, Professor, University of Forida, Gainesville, USA

Jörn BIRKMANN, Head of Section, United Nations University Institute for Envrionmenat and Human Security UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany
Eric DES MARAIS, Adjunct Faculty,  Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, Denver, USA
Uwe LÜBKEN, Research Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich, Germany

Franz MAUELSHAGEN, Executive Board Member and Program Coordinator of "Climate & Culture", Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, KWI), Essen, Germany
Anthony OLIVER-SMITH, Professor University of Florida, Gainesville, USA
Roger S. PULWARTY, Director, National Integrated Drought Information System, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, USA