Climate forced relocation
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Climate Forced Relocation. What is the nexus between climate-induced environmental change and human mobility? If climate change causes entire communities to relocate, how can communities be resilient?. Methods. Ethnography of a community-led relocation process;

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Climate Forced Relocation

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Climate forced relocation

Climate Forced Relocation

  • What is the nexus between climate-induced environmental change and human mobility?

  • If climate change causes entire communities to relocate, how can communities be resilient?

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Methods

Methods

  • Ethnography of a community-led relocation process;

  • Multidisciplinary and multi-level: community, state, national and international

  • Attended 40 relocation meetings between 2007-2012 at community, state, national and international levels

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Climate forced relocation

  • Climate-induced environmental change will cause permanent relocation

  • Permanent relocation requires new adaptive governance institutions

  • Must be based in human rights doctrine

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Climate change in alaska

Climate Change in Alaska

Temperatures have increased an average of 3.5 Celsius since 1975. Permafrost is melting. Record minimum levels of arctic sea ice since 2007. Accelerated rates of erosion.

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Climate forced relocation

Photos: Frank Myoumick-Kawerak

2003 US government report found 4communities seeking to relocate in Alaska and 184 other communities are being affected by flooding and erosion

2009 US government report found 12seeking to relocate and 31 additional communities thinking about relocation.

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Newtok traditional council

Newtok Traditional Council

NEWTOK TRADITIONAL COUNCIL

Documented erosion since 1983

Identified 6 potential relocation sites and evaluated habitability

Community voted 3 times to relocate

Acquired land for relocation in 2003.

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Newtok s relocation challenges

NEWTOK’S RELOCATION CHALLENGES

  • Newtok Planning Group

    • Ad hoc

    • 25 different federal, state, tribal and non-profit agencies

    • No mandate to relocate; no statutory guidance to relocate and no relocation funding

  • Agencies lack technical, financial and organizational capacity to relocate communities

  • Statutory barriers

    • Can not build school unless at least 10 children enrolled

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Climigration definition

CLIMIGRATION DEFINITION

  • Permanent Community Relocation Due To On-going Ecological Change, caused by repeated extreme weather events and on-going ecological change

  • Threatens lives

  • Damages or destroys infrastructure, housing, health clinics and schools

Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


Dynamic adaptive governance response

Dynamic Adaptive Governance Response

  • DISASTER RELIEF

    Critical to adaptive governance framework to ensure relocation is only durable solution

    • TEMPORARY EVACUATION

    • EROSION/FLOOD CONTROL

    • REBUILD

    • RETURN

  • Statutory framework needs to be amended to include gradual ecological processes

  • Release funding for relocation

  • Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


    Social ecological signals

    SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL SIGNALS

    • Repetitive loss of infrastructure;

    • Imminent danger to community;

    • Protection in place not possible through flood protection, erosion control;

    • Number of evacuation incidents;

    • Socio-economic indicators – loss of potable water, affect on public health;

    • Information regarding predicted sea level rise, community monitoring of erosion and flooding

    Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


    Human rights principles

    Human Rights Principles

    Reviewed human rights doctrines – no current human rights document provides protections for communities relocating because of climate change

    • Community-based and community-guided

    • Living standards must not diminish

    • Sustainable development

    • Socio-cultural institutions must remain intact

    • Customary communal rights to resources are protected

    Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


    Future research

    FUTURE RESEARCH

    Scale It Up and Out:

    • Workshop between Newtok and Carteret Islands

    • Collaboration with UN Environment Program, Georgetown University and Brookings Institute

    Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


    Acknowledgements

    Acknowledgements

    • Stanley Tom, Newtok Traditional Council, Sally Russell Cox and the Newtok Planning Group;

    • Ursula Rakova and Tulele Peisa;

    • Dr. Terry Chapin, Dr. Gary Kofinas, Dr. Peter Schweitzer and Dr. Sarah Trainor;

    • EPSCoR: National Science Foundation

    Robin Bronen: University of Alaska Fairbanks [email protected]


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