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Policy challenges and responses to environmental non-migration

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The scientific literature, media, international summits, and policy forums highlighted enough the people who either move or are willing to move because of environmental reasons. Still, the voluntary environmental non-migrants (ENM), who are assumed to have strong resilience and coping capacity, are inordinately overlooked. The importance of addressing these ENMs has increasingly been emphasised. First, the paper explains the characteristics of ENM, outlining the key distinction between voluntary and forced non-migrants. Second, it emphasises the need to protect populations affected by environmental change and disaster, specifically highlighting oft-neglected ENM policy gaps. Thus, it examines to what extent ENM is addressed in existing global legal and policy responses. Having identified the gaps, it further considers the importance of adaptation strategies and well-planned relocation policies to support non-migration. Finally, it summarises the existing ENM policies’ scope and reflects on the key policy gaps identified to suggest the way forward. This paper urges for a pragmatic and strategic policy approach that ensures bottom-up community-oriented approaches for supporting ENM by: (i) coordinating adaptation activities, (ii) ensuring planned relocation and migration with dignity, (iii) enabling informed decision-making, (iv) mobilising national and international support, and (v) developing appropriate institutional structures for adaptation

Originally published by Nature Porfolio

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