Looking back on development and disaster-related displacement and resettlement, anticipating climate-related displacement in the Asia Pacific region

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The realisation that climate change might necessitate resettlement of people displaced initially raised interest in the experience of development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR). Looking back, in 1980 the first international policy on involuntary resettlement was approved to address perceived weaknesses in state property and expropriation law to safeguard people in the way of development projects. Since then, international policy and praxis have brought global attention to developmentally displaced people but have not guaranteed them an effective safeguard. Recently, renewed attention has focussed on state legal and governance frameworks substantively and procedurally. Identifying four key policy objectives that resonate with climate change displacement I analyse their treatment in a data base of DFDR laws and regulations from 40 Asia Pacific states. This analysis finds overall little legal congruence. Innovative new formulations in some Asian state laws address recent public criticisms and research findings, but mostly are yet to demonstrate positive outcomes for displaced people. Pacific states increasingly abandon expropriation law to negotiate lease terms for public infra-structure projects with customary landowners that do not extinguish customary title. Any laws governing climate change relocations must protect rights, livelihoods, well-being, inclusive decision-making and community initiatives with procedures whilst not relinquishing climate-change-reducing action.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-204
    JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
    Volume60
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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