The Environmental Impacts of Warehousing Refugees in Camps in Developing Countries

The Environmental Impacts of Warehousing Refugees in Camps in Developing Countries
Listen to the Be Inspired Podcast Network with Samuel Jacob-Abbey as he interviews with Jenkins Macedo

Much of the literature on refugee warehousing and their impacts on the host country’s environment assumes that refugees are exceptional resource degraders. The dominant conceptualization of refugees’ impacts on the host country’s environment treats refugees as actors with destructive behaviors rather than seeing the degradation as a result of inappropriate government policies, inefficient humanitarian assistance, and the lack of an effective plan by host countries to foster a durable solution.

Join me on Be Inspired Podcast Network Sat. Sept 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm EST or 7:30 pm GMT to discuss “*The Environmental Impacts of Warehousing Refugees in Camp in developing Countries.*” with Jenkins Macedo, Int’l Dir, INDESEEM . Tune in at http://mixlr.com/be-inspired-radio or http://beinspiredpodcast.com Kindly send your questions/ comments ahead on whatsapp/SMS: 5713379185. Stay Connected!! Be inspired!! Be Unique!! & Be Different!!!

 

Global warming could create 150 million ‘climate refugees’ by 2050

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People displaced by Cyclone Nargis line up by their tents for a visit from UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon in 2008 in Kyondah, Myanmar. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Environmental Justice Foundation report says 10% of the global population is at risk of forced displacement due to climate change.



Global warming will force up to 150 million “climate refugees” to move to other countries in the next 40 years, a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) warns.

In 2008 alone, more than 20 million people were displaced by climate-related natural disasters, including 800,000 people by cyclone Nargis in Asia, and almost 80,000 by heavy floods and rains in Brazil, the NGO said.

President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, who presented testimony to the EJF, said people in his country did not want to “trade a paradise for a climate refugee camp”. He warned rich countries taking part in UN climate talks this week in Barcelona “not to be stupid” in negotiating a climate treaty in Copenhagen this December.

Nasheed urged governments to find ways to keep temperature rises caused by warming under 2C. “We won’t be around for anything after 2C,” he said. “We are just 1.5m over sea level and anything over that, any rise in sea level – anything even near that – would wipe off the Maldives. People are having to move their homes because of erosion. We’ve already this year had problems with two islands and we are having to move them to other islands. We have a right to live.”

Last month, the president held a cabinet meeting underwater to draw attention to the plight of his country.

The EJF claimed 500 million to 600 million people – nearly 10% of the world’s population – are at risk from displacement by climate change. Around 26 million have already had to move, a figure that the EJF predicts could grow to 150 million by 2050. “The majority of these people are likely to be internally displaced, migrating only within a short radius from their homes. Relatively few will migrate internationally to permanently resettle in other countries,” said the report’s authors.

In the longer term, the report said, changes to weather patterns will lead to various problems, including desertification and sea-level rises that threaten to inundate low-lying areas and small island developing states. An expert at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations in Paris recently said global warming could create “ghost states” with citizens living in “virtual states” due to land lost to rising seas.

Many other countries, including Bangladesh, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia, Chad and Rwanda, could see large movements of people. Bangladesh has had 70 climate-related natural disasters in the past 10 years.

“Climate change impacts on homes and infrastructure, food and water and human health. It will bring about a forced migration on an unprecedented scale,” said the EJF director, Steve Trent. “We must take immediate steps to reduce our impact on global climate, and we must also recognise the need to protect those already suffering along with those most at risk.”

He called for a new international agreement to address the scale and human cost of climate change. “The formal legal definition of refugees needs to be extended to include those affected by climate change and also internally displaced persons,” he said.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the The Guardian and retrieved on 07/20/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

Land degradation and migration: Will restoring the land keep people at home?

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People living in drylands and other marginal landscapes have always lived with uncertainty and livelihood insecurities. Over time, they have employed a myriad of coping strategies, including seasonal migration in search of food, pasture, and water. Photo: UNDP Somalia

By Phemo Kgomotso, Regional Technical Specialist, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa. Date: June 16, 2017

Would forced migration end, if people knew that they could survive and thrive in their homeland?

 

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) asks this pertinent question as we observe World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June, focused on examining the important link between land degradation and migration.

A childhood memory that has stayed with me is from 1992, when Botswana, along with many other countries in southern Africa were hit by what the New York Times called ‘the worst drought of the 20th Century’.

That year, on a hot and dry December day, one of my family members and I spent half a day trekking livestock to the only water source that hadn’t dried up, and another half day trekking back to my grandmother’s farmstead. That year, my family lost over 40 heads of cattle.

Mainly dependent on livestock for subsistence, people living in drylands and other marginal landscapes have always lived with uncertainty and livelihood insecurities and constraints presented by such environments.

Over time, they have employed a myriad of coping strategies, including seasonal migration in search of food, pasture, and water.

The Fulani herders, found in Nigeria, Niger, Guinea, Mali and many parts of the Sahel and West Africa still migrate in search of pasture for their livestock. My own uncles still relocate cattle to areas with better pastures almost every year during the dry season.

Many of these coping strategies have increasingly come into conflict with the more sedentary approaches to agriculture and land use, and are incompatible with ‘modern’ policies and land tenure systems.

The lack of alternatives has in many cases led to poverty, food insecurity, conflict and increasingly outward migration to urban areas.

Two greatest environmental concerns

Land degradation is the reduction or loss in the capacity of soil and land resources to produce food, fodder and other ecosystems services, and desertification is land degradation that occurs in drylands.

It directly impacts the health and livelihoods of an estimated 1.5 billion people globally.

Additional pressure comes from the need to feed a growing global population of over 7 billion requiring food to be produced fast, cheaply and in large quantities.

However, land degradation need not be permanent. Restoration will not be cheap, but the costs of inaction will be even higher.

The UNCCD says that restoring just 12 percent of degraded agricultural land could boost smallholders’ incomes by US$35 billion to $40 billion per year and feed 200 million people annually within 15 years.

Where will the money come from?

Will the money come from the poor Asian and African smallholder farmers who on average own and cultivate just 2.5 hectares to produce 80 percent of the food consumed in these two regions? What are the opportunity costs of adopting sustainable land management practices? What is the role of public funding in making these investments and what should be the role of the private sector in overcoming the investment barriers?

As we pursue the Sustainable Development Goals together with our partners, including the Global Environment Facility, we are exploring answers to some of these questions and leading dialogue and action towards achieving SDG target 15.3 – a land degradation neutral world.

We support 143 countries around the world to address land degradation and other global environmental challenges by assisting them to plan, access, deliver, diversify, scale-up and sequence a variety of environmental financing mechanisms, and combine these with other sources of public and private financing.

Since that big drought year in Botswana, which is also the same year that the world met in Brazil and agreed on the UNCCD and the other Rio Conventions, UNDP has helped mobilize $6.6 billion from various sources to implement the actions agreed under the Rio Conventions and to support sustainable environmental practices around the globe, with clear benefits that advance sustainable development.

The links between land degradation and migration have not always been boldly stated, but they are certainly there, and we need more nuanced research and analysis to better inform responses.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the United Nations Development Programme and retrieved on 06/20/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM accordingly.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new era for development

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On the island of Lesbos, Greece, a newly arrived refugee from Syria is carried by a volunteer, himself a former refugee. The UN’s role in supporting refugees is one of the most visible reminders of why the UN is needed © UNICEF/UNI197517/Gilbertson V

By Jeremy Greenstock Chairman, United Nations Association – UK, Natalie Samarasinghe Executive Director, United Nations Association – UK


Making the SDGs count will require global cooperation, public involvement and effective institutions that transcend the buzzwords of “partnerships”, “engagement” and “reform”

The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris agreement on climate change in 2015 – a year marked by instability and violence – is testament to the UN’s enduring ability to forge global solutions.

Since 1945, the UN has worked to realise the vision expressed in its Charter of “social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”. Most people today live longer, healthier and freer lives. For all their flaws, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were arguably the most successful anti-poverty initiative in history. Over the past 15 years, the goals have served as a development blueprint, generating programmes and funding that have helped to lift over a billion people out of extreme poverty, fight hunger and boost health and education.

The extent to which the UN deserves credit for these developments is debated. But there are areas where its impact is obvious, in the targeted campaigns on maternal and infant health and on school enrolment for example. Less successful areas – such as gender equality and a fairer trade system – are invariably those that require greater political will and cultural compromise, and broader social and structural transformation.

As we embark on the SDGs, the context for progress is dramatically different from that of 2000. Today, we are witnessing the fading effect of the UN’s guiding principles in restraining nationalistic ambitions, as well as rising big power tensions and cross-border extremism. Recent conflicts have broken the 70-year downward trend in casualties and contributed to the biggest displacement crisis since records began.

Global economic power has shifted east and south, and financial volatility has triggered crises on all continents. Twenty years ago, 93 per cent of the world’s poor lived in low-income countries. Now, the Institute of Development Studies reports that 72 per cent are in middle-income countries. This should generate a re-think in development assistance and trade/investment approaches.

Inequality has emerged as a key challenge. While the number of people in the working middle class (living on more than $4 a day) almost tripled between 1991 and 2015, the gap between rich and poor has barely narrowed. This year, Oxfam reported that the world’s richest 62 people own as much as the poorest 50 per cent. Many experts acknowledge that lifting the ‘next billion’ out of extreme poverty, and improving the lot of those who fall just outside that definition, will be much harder.

Aid – as a concept and practice – is increasingly challenged, driven by domestic pressures in donor countries, but also by calls for transparency and results by people in recipient countries. It is also a much smaller element of the funding mix, as foreign direct investment, remittances and portfolio equity flows have grown.

The impact of conflict, human rights abuses, poor governance and climate change on development is now more widely understood and accepted. This is clear from the range of issues covered by the SDGs.

The number of development actors, too, has increased. New institutions, regional organisations, companies and NGOs are now heavily involved in policy-making, delivery, financing and evaluation. In many environments, they are the leading actors.

And then there is the growing voice of the people, who are making themselves heard by taking to the streets, to social media and movements, and to the ballot box, where populist leaders are increasingly gaining ground.

This latest volume in UNA-UK’s global development goals series brings together authors – from the UN, national governments, business, academia and civil society – to provide an appraisal of the SDGs and the context for achieving them, as well as evidence-based recommendations on implementation. From the range of issues covered, four themes emerge:

  • This is a universal agenda – the goals require all 
 countries, developed and developing, to undertake 
 programmes within their own borders and to work
 together on major structural reforms, such as 
 improvements to international financial and tax systems.
  • This is a local agenda – targets need to be prioritised 
 and adapted at the community level. This is a key 
 lesson from the MDG period, during which gains on 
 the ground were often delivered by small-scale NGOs 
 that understood their beneficiaries and worked closely 
 with them.
  • This is a collective agenda – implementing the goals 
 will require global cooperation on a scale and 
 intensity that transcends traditional concepts of 
 ‘partnership’. The global mobilisation to tackle HIV/
 AIDS and CFCs are two examples of successful cross-
 sectoral collaboration.
  • This is a people’s agenda – civil society is more 
 than NGOs. People must be involved in the design, 
 delivery, monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs 
 on an ongoing basis. This will improve effectiveness 
 as well as accountability, and sufficient time, money 
 and energy must be spent on facilitating meaningful 
 participation.

What role should the UN play in this? The last two articles in this volume focus on institutional change and leadership. Both are vital to addressing the reforms needed, as well as the bigger question of whether the UN should move away from on-the-ground delivery over the next 15 years and focus on capacity building, advocacy and funding.

In this regard, the appointment of a new Secretary-General in 2016 offers opportunities. UNA-UK has played a leading role in 1 for 7 Billion – the global campaign for a selection process that genuinely engages all UN member states and civil society.

International peace is invariably at the top of any Secretary-General’s agenda, but this has been reinforced by the selection process, which has hitherto put the decision in the hands of the Security Council, guided by five rich military powers, instead of the wider UN membership that is more development-oriented. This time, broader involvement, including by civil society and the media, is likely to result in more emphasis on development, particularly in the first ‘implementation’ year of the SDGs.

A better selection process, along with a single term of office, could give the next post-holder a stronger mandate to deliver on these commitments, and free her or his hand in making high-quality appointments, particularly a Deputy Secretary-General who could focus on the development system.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was instrumental in galvanizing support for the SDGs. It is only fitting that his successor takes up the mantle by generating serious debate on the structural and operational changes needed at the UN to achieve them.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by Sustainable Goals and was retrieved on 04/21/2017 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remains those of the authors. Please cite the original source accordingly.


 

More than 6,000 flee fresh South Sudan violence into Uganda


UNHCR expresses alarm at deteriorating security situation in South Sudan.

Clark researchers examining relationships between U.S.-born, foreign-born Worcester residents

Lead researchers Cheryl Hamilton, left, and Anita Fabos are spearheading Clark University's Shared Worlds research project, exploring the relationship between U.
Lead researchers Cheryl Hamilton, left, and Anita Fabos are spearheading Clark University’s Shared Worlds research project, exploring the relationship between U.S.-born and foreign-born Worcester residents. T&G Staff/Christine Hochkeppel

Written By: Scott O’Connell, Telegram & Gazette Staff

Posted Nov. 15, 2015 at 5:51 PM; Updated Nov 16, 2015 at 8:41 P


 

WORCESTER – U.S.- and foreign-born residents alike call Worcester home. But are they actually interacting with each other?

That’s the question behind a novel new study being conducted by researchers at Clark University. The study is being led by professor Anita Fabos and Cheryl Hamilton, who is director of Partner Engagement at the International Institute of New England.

The “Shared Worlds” project, which the university is backing with support from the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, aims to take an unprecedented glimpse into the kinds of relationships Worcester’s diverse inhabitants have with each other, and hopefully provide valuable new data to influence policy-making decisions in the city.

“While we sometimes look at Worcester in a nostalgic way, it’s really in a state of becoming,” Ms. Fabos said, as immigration continues to reshape neighborhoods, schools and business in the city. “In a large part, it’s a story of the United States.”

But existing data about Worcester’s foreign-born residents has focused primarily on how they are integrating into the city – the types of services they need, the kinds of occupations they have – rather than on how they are intermingling with the area’s U.S.-born residents. Nor is there much information about how immigrant groups are interacting with each other, the researchers said.

As a result, there isn’t much information about “the intangible of social belonging,” Ms. Fabos said, a factor that is often an important ingredient in the “recipe for long-term well-being of a community.”

While they didn’t want to taint the responses of future participants by revealing too much about what residents have said so far, Ms. Hamilton said, a variety of experiences have been relayed in the research team’s interview groups. Some foreign-born residents have become part of a rich network of connections with other immigrants as well as native residents, while others have remained mostly isolated.

“We’re not just measuring refugees’ sense of belonging,” she added. “How do U.S.-born residents feel?”

The breakdown of people being interviewed for the project is roughly 25 percent foreign-born – foreign-born people make up about 22 percent of Worcester’s population – and 75 percent U.S.-born, and it’s the U.S.-born whose experiences are often left out of studies on the impacts of immigration, Ms. Hamilton said.

“Yet there’s two populations who are being impacted” by immigration, she pointed out. “Our main goal is to make sure people are being heard.”

As of Thursday, the Shared Worlds researchers had interviewed around 30 groups of eight to 12 people; their goal is to talk to 1,000 residents. They expect interviews will extend into early January, and are still encouraging community groups to host a session by contacting them atinfo@sharedworlds.us.

Ms. Fabos said her team has already been working closely with local groups, especially those with close links to various foreign-born populations in the city, to draw in volunteers. That strategy has proven effective, she and Ms. Hamilton said, as evidenced by the fact they have already nearly met their quota for foreign-born interviews.

“It’s been a domino effect,” Ms. Hamilton said, as foreign-born residents who participated in the project have recommended it to friends and relatives. “What I’ve heard consistently is that participants felt like they were heard for the first time. I think that’s a really wonderful outcome so far.”

The interviews are being conducted by a team of graduate students such as Mikayla Bobrow, who are working through interpreters to ask questions to the study’s subjects. There is some nuance involved, she said, in getting an accurate sense of people’s experiences.

“I noticed the younger men were dominating a lot of conversation” in one of her sessions with Rwandan and Congolese refugees, for example, she said. “And I noticed it was really hard to get the women to speak.”

One of the primary aims of Shared Worlds, Ms. Hamilton said, is to avoid letting the testimony of spokespeople represent the experiences of an entire community or nationality.

“What’s unique about the project is we’re really going for the grass-roots level,” she said. “We’re trying to get the moms and dads and neighbors.”

Considering many of those people have never shared their viewpoints before in a study like Shared Worlds, Ms. Fabos said she and her fellow researchers “have no idea what the outcome will be” of their interviews.

“It could be really interesting to see if Iraqi refugees are starting to make contact with Hmong refugees or Vietnamese immigrants, for example,” she said.

It could be equally illuminating to see whether U.S.-born residents are still maintaining relationships with each other, Ms. Hamilton said.

“I’ve heard people who’ve said they don’t even know their neighbor,” she said. “Why is that, and is it the same for a Vietnamese refugee?”

One of the study’s questions to participants, both foreign- and U.S.-born, for instance, is where they most often sees U.S.-born residents in their daily lives. For some interviewees, their only interaction comes at work, while others have a greater variety of interactions at their children’s schools, their neighborhood churches and other social gathering places. Other residents may not feel there’s even a need for such interactions, and “it’s important to understand their experiences as well,” Ms. Hamilton said.

Once they have finished their interviews, the researchers hope to put the comprehensive summary report of their findings into the hands of Worcester’s decision-makers sometime next year. “This is not research that’s going to sit on a shelf here at Clark,” Ms. Hamilton said. They said they’ve received interest in particular from Mayor Joseph Petty’s office.

“The mayor has certainly made it a priority to make Worcester as welcoming as possible to all its residents, especially foreign-born residents,” said Mr. Petty’s chief of staff, Daniel Racicot. “I think we’re always looking for best practices, and looking for as much information as possible when we make policy decisions.”

Scott O’Connell can be reached at Scott.O’Connell@telegram.com. Follow him on Twitter@ScottOConnellTG


This article was published at the Telegram & Gazette and was retrieved in 11/25/2015 and posted here at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. Please cite the original and this source accordingly. The views, thoughts and information contain in the article are those of the author and research team only.


Europe Refugee Crisis

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Photo Credited: Jenkins Macedo, Buduburam Refugee Camp, Ghana, 2011

Over the past few months we’ve witnessed and continue to witness events unfold in Europe about the refugee crisis in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. We’ve heard and read headlines which show refugees and asylum-seekers trying to make their passages to Europe and safety through some of the hardest and dangerous means possible.

In the midst of all the headlines and challenges, we’ve seen children, women and the elderly the most vulnerable of the refugee population victims of the politics of the refugee process.

We also see images of dead migrants and refugees washed ashore off the coast of Turkey and other countries as they embarked on journey that could have been prevented, if adequate services were made available to them in the first country of refuge/asylum.

We also see in the midst of all these challenges the ineffectiveness of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to sporadically handle the problem and provide the needed assistance to refugees and migrants.

While establishing refugee status is a function of both national and international legal frameworks, the situations in Europe expose the massive problem in the UNHCR systems, which needs to be addressed accordingly. October 24, 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

While many good things have been done to date several challenges still remain unchallenged and unchanged and against this end, the UNHCR needs to wake up and stand up for the rights of refugees.

It is just so ridiculous that the UN and more specifically UNHCR would allow thousand of refugees (including women, children and the elderly) to walk miles without food, water, and appropriate shelter from one country to another in Europe. It appears that UNHCR didn’t exist. Where was UNHCR? All they kept doing and continue doing is talk. Talks are BS without actions!

One aspect is processing refugees who should be resettled to a third country after establishing their refugee status in the first country of refuge and if they apply to be resettled based on conditions of the status of their safety in the host country (first country of refuge) and their inability to return home.

It is politically correct to say that the process to determine who to resettle to a third country is a long process and requires a lot of resources and coordination with countries that are willing to accept refugees, UNHCR, the host country where they first sought refuge, and the refugees themselves.

Turkey and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa have to go beyond their capacities to accommodate the massive influx of refugees and as well provide the needed legal, humanitarian and other logistical assistance to the refugee population.

The fact that you have massive influx of people leaving the shores of Turkey, Libya, Egypt, and other countries through unconventional means point to several reasons why the UNHCR have failed and also unintentionally contributed to current refugee crisis in Europe.

UNHCR needs to do more do address the gaps exposed by the refugee crisis in Europe. Countries of the European Union, phase with their own domestic challenges, need to take a more positive stands towards handling refugees and asylum-seekers.

It doesn’t matter whether or not they are Muslims or Christians or Jews!! What matters the most is they are humans like ourselves and deserves the right to a new place they would like to call “home.”

We should also learn to understand that refugees have no choice and their only choice is for us to accept them because they are human beings. No one for any reason other than to escape pain, humans sufferings and death would risk their lives and the lives of their children.

These events like what we continue to see in Europe and other places make me wonder how those in authority think when their actions are purely distant away from their words.