Policy ForumClimate Change

Preparing for Resettlement Associated with Climate Change

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Science  28 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6055, pp. 456-457
DOI: 10.1126/science.1208821

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Although there is agreement that climate change will result in population displacements and migration, there are differing views on the potential volume of flows, the likely source and destination areas, the relative role of climatic versus other factors in precipitating movements, and whether migration represents a failure of adaptation (1, 2). We argue that climate change mitigation and adaptation (M&A) actions, which will also result in significant population displacements, have not received sufficient attention. Given the emergence of resettlement as an adaptation response, it is critical to learn from research on development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR). We discuss two broad categories of potential displacement in response to (i) climate impacts themselves and (ii) large-scale M&A projects. We discuss policy approaches for facilitating migration and, where communities lack resources to migrate, suggest guidelines for organized resettlement.