Several proposals for global legal governance of environmental migration have recently been published, almost exclusively by Western scholars. The present article denounces the geographical and intellectual disconnect between descriptive works on environmental migration as a phenomenon and the normative studies on the developments in law and governance. It suggests that this disconnect has resulted in a post-colonial approach towards tackling environmental migration, which could impede the protection of environmental migrants. While recalling that governance of environmental migration is most likely to succeed within a regional framework, this article pleads for a home-grown legal approach of environmental migration in the Asia-Pacific. Participating in a multilateral discussion is a unique opportunity for the rising countries of Asia and the Pacific to strengthen their growing diplomatic roles and to demonstrate their capacity in the development of liberal forms of transnational governance.
PhD candidate, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. This article builds on a class paper presented as part of Associate Professor Simon TAY Seong Chee's seminar on International Law in Asia. It results from the encounter of a Western student with Asian critical research on international law, in particular the Third World Approaches of International Law. An earlier draft was circulated as a working paper for the Earth System Governance project. I wish to thank Ingrid Boas, François Crépeau, Aysem Mert, Alan Tan Khee Jin, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft. All mistakes remain my own.
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106. TAYLOR, Savitri, “From Border Control to Migration Management: The Case for a Paradigm Change in the Western Response to Transborder Population Movement” (2005) 39 Social Policy & Administration 563
Ole WAEVER et al. with David Carlton et al., Identity, Migration, and the New Security Agenda in Europe (London: Printer Publishers, 1993)
CRÉPEAU, François, NAKACHE, Delphine, and ATAK, Idil, “International Migration: Security Concerns and Human Rights Standards” (2007) 44 Transcultural Psychiatry 311
CRÉPEAU, François and NAKACHE, Delphine, “Controlling Irregular Migration in Canada: Reconciling Security Concerns with Human Rights Protection”, Institute for Research on Public Policy, Paper, February 2006
WEINER, Myron, “Security, Stability, and International Migration” (1992) 17 International Security 91
107. Jon BARNETT and Michael WEBBER, “Migration as Adaptation: Opportunities and Limits” in Jane MCADAM, ed., Climate Change and Displacement: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2010)
Jon BARNETT and Natasha CHAMBERLAIN, “Migration as Climate Change Adaptation: Implications for the Pacific” in Bruce BURSON, ed., Climate Change and Migration: South Pacific Perspectives (Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies, 2010)
MCLEMAN, R. and SMIT, B., “Migration as an Adaptation to Climate Change” (2006) 76 Climatic Change 31
108. Supra note 11, Principle IV.
109. FELLI, Romain, “Managing Climate Insecurity by Ensuring Continuous Capital Accumulation: ‘Climate Refugees’ and ‘Climate Migrants’ ” (2012) New Political Economy (forthcoming)
110. Chimni, supra note 70 at 19
111. Ibid., at 22.
112. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, 18 December 1990, (entered into force 1 July 2003), online: OHCHR 〈http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cmw.htm〉 [International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families].
113. MACDONALD, Euan and CHOLEWINSKI, Ryszard, “The Migrant Workers Convention in Europe: Obstacles to the Ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families: EU/EEA Perspectives”, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Report, 2007
114. MCADAM, Jane, “Swimming Against the Tide: Why a Climate Change Displacement Treaty is Not the Answer” (2011) 23 International Journal of Refugee Law 2 at 17
WILLIAMS, Angela, “Turning the Tide: Recognizing Climate Change Refugees in International Law” (2008) 30 Law and Policy 502 at 517
115. See supra notes 99 and 100.
116. Williams, supra note 114 at 518
Mayer, supra note 8
117. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, “Cartagena Declaration on Refugees” (November 1984), online: University of Minnesota 〈http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/cartagena1984.html〉; Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 10 September 1969, online: African Union, 〈http://www.africa-union.org/Official_documents/Treaties_%20Conventions_%20Protocols/Refugee_Convention.pdf〉 [Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa].
118. Kampala Convention, supra note 84. See also Guiding Principles, supra note 60. The Guiding Principles are not open to ratification, and, therefore are generally considered as “soft law” or non-binding law.
119. ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, 13 January 2007, online: ASEAN 〈http://www.aseansec.org/19264.htm〉 [Cebu Declaration]; Statement of the Establishment of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers, 30 July 2007, online: ASEAN 〈http://www.aseansec.org/20768.htm〉 [Statement of the Establishment of the ASEAN Committee].
120. Cambodia and Indonesia have signed the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, but they have not ratified it. See International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, supra note 112.
121. Colleen THOUEZ and Frédérique CHANNAC, “Shaping International Migration Policy: The Role of Regional Consultative Processes” (2006) 29 West European Politics 370 at 386
122. For instance, IOM organized a workshop on climate change adaptation and migration in the Mekong Delta, with United Nations Development Programme and Can Tho University, in June 2012.
123. Tay (2005), supra note 26.
124. Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Asia's Response to Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Implications for an Evolving Regional Architecture. A Report of the CSIS Asian Regionalism Initiative” (July 2010), online: CSIS 〈http://csis.org/files/publication/100708_Freeman_AsiasResponse_WEB.pdf〉 at 57−8.
126. United Nations Environment Programme, “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development” (June 1992)
127. The definition given by the IOM in a discussion note in 2007 is often cited, although less often agreed with. Accordingly,
environmental migrants are persons or groups of persons who, for compelling reasons of sudden or progressive changes in the environment that adversely affect their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or chose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad.
However, the IOM itself called this a “working definition”. See International Organization for Migration, “Discussion Note: Migration and the Environment” (November 2007), online: IOM 〈http://www.iom.int/jahia/webdav/site/myjahiasite/shared/shared/mainsite/microsites/IDM/workshops/evolving_global_economy_2728112007/MC_INF_288_EN.pdf〉 at 1−2.
128. Mayer, supra note 5
129. See in particular the advocacy of the Equity and Justice Working Group, online: EJWG 〈http://www.equitybd.org/〉.
130. FLOREMONT, Fanny, “Migratory Issues in Climate Adaptation Policies: A New Conceptualisation of Population Displacements?” (2012) 39 Forum for Development Studies 31 at 43
131. KOMORI, Yasumasa, “Evaluating Regional Environmental Governance in Northeast Asia” (2010) 37 Asian Affairs: An American Review 1
132. See online: Asian Disaster Preparedness Center 〈http://www.adpc.net/2011/〉.
133. Marianne ELLIOTT and David FAGAN, “From Community to Copenhagen: Civil Society Action on Climate Change in the Pacific” in Bruce BURSON, ed., Climate Change and Migration: South Pacific Perspectives (Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies, 2010)
134. ELLIOTT, Lorraine, “Climate Migration: Why it is a Human Security Issue”, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Commentary, 25 February 2011 at 57
135. It includes eighteen national bodies. See “Bangladesh Becomes Newest APF Member” Asia Pacific Forum (20 September 2011), online: Asia Pacific Forum 〈http://www.asiapacificforum.net/news/bangladesh-becomes-newest-apf-member〉. See also Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, “Larrakia Declaration: Conclusions, Recommendations and Decisions” (July 1996), online: Asia Pacific Forum 〈http://www.asiapacificforum.net/about/history/annual-meetings/1st-australia-1996/downloads/larakia.pdf〉 [Larrakia Declaration: Conclusions, Recommendations and Decisions]. A workshop was held in Bangkok on 17−21 October 2011, and the forthcoming publication of an “Operational Guide for National Human Rights Institutions on the Rights of Migrant Workers” was announced for 2012. See “Human Rights Advocacy and Migrant Workers in the Asia-Pacific Region” Asia Pacific Forum, online: Asia Pacific Forum 〈http://www.asiapacificforum.net/news/human-rights-advocacy-and-migrant-workers-in-the-asia-pacific-region〉.
136. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, “Regional Study on the Causes and Consequences of Natural Disasters and the Protection and Preservation of the Environment” (1991)
Ashok SWAIN, “South Asia, Its Environment and Regional Institutions” in Lorraine ELLIOTT and Shaun BRESLIN, eds., Comparative Environmental Regionalism (London: Routledge, 2011)
137. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, “Thimphu Statement on Climate Change” (April 2010)
138. Ibid., at 13th Recital.
139. Simon TAY, Robert G. PATMAN, and Betty MASON-PARKER, “Interdependence, States and Community: Ethical Concerns and Foreign Policy in ASEAN” in David B. MACDONALD, ed., The Ethics of Foreign Policy (London: Ashgate, 2007)
ANDERSON, Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso, 1991)
140. Lorraine ELLIOTT, “East Asia and Sub-Regional Diversity: Initiatives, Institutions and Identity” in Lorraine ELLIOTT and Shaun BRESLIN, eds., Comparative Environmental Regionalism (London: Routledge, 2011)
141. After the Cebu Declaration, several states are pushing for a binding agreement. See e.g. Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “2011 Chair's Statement of the 18th ASEAN Summit” (May 2011), online: Centre for International Law 〈http://cil.nus.edu.sg/rp/pdf/2011%20Chairs%20Statement%20of%20the%2018th%20ASEAN%20Summit-pdf.pdf〉 at 8.
142. TACCONI, L., JOTZO, F., and GRAFTON, R.Q., “Local Causes, Regional Co-operation and Global Financing for Environmental Problems: The Case of Southeast Asian Haze Pollution” (2008) 8 International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 1 at 3−4
143. See in particular, Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian States, 20 November 2007, online: ASEAN 〈http://www.aseansec.org/21069.pdf〉, at art. 2(2)(a) [ASEAN Charter].
144. Kheng-Lian, KOH and ROBINSON, Nicholas A., “Strengthening Sustainable Development in Regional Inter-Governmental Governance: Lessons from the ASEAN Way” (2002) 6 Singapore Journal of International and Comparative Law 640 at 643
145. Ibid. at 643 and 659.
146. HUGO, Graeme, “Internal and International Migration in Asia-Exploring the Linkages”, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Keynote Address, 13 October 2011
148. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, “Niue Declaration on Climate Change” (August 2008), online: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat 〈http://www.forumsec.org/resources/uploads/attachments/documents/THE%20NIUE%20DECLARATION%20ON%20CLIMATE%20CHANGE.pdf〉 at para. 4 [Niue Declaration on Climate Change]. See also Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, “Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006−2015” (June 2005), online: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme 〈http://www.sprep.org/att/publication/000438_PI_Framework_for_Action_on_Climate_Change_2006_2015_FINAL.pdf〉 [Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change 2006−2015].
149. DARA, “Declaration of the Climate Vulnerable Forum” (November 2009)
150. Asian Development Bank, “Policy Options to Support Climate-Induced Migration” (December 2009)
151. Ibid., at 4−5.
152. The initial project document actually provides that the financial feasibility study “will undertake a comprehensive feasibility study for the expansion of existing funding facilities (including the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund) or the establishment and maintenance of a new funding facility”, thus suggesting that funding should be operated at a global level. Ibid., at 4.
153. DOBIAS, Robert J., “ADB's Role in Addressing Climate Change and Migration”, Centre for Non-Traditional Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Presentation, 27 May 2011
155. Supra note 12 at 73.
156. Asian Development Bank, “ADB Financial Profile 2011” (April 2011)
157. On the rule, see ADB Charter, supra note 156, art. 33. On the repartition of shares, see ADB Financial Profile 2011, supra note 156 at 36 regarding subscriptions to the authorized capital stock of the ADB.
158. ANGHIE, A. and CHIMNI, B.S., “Third World Approaches to International Law and Individual Responsibility in Internal Conflicts” (2003) 2 Chinese Journal of International Law 77 at 81
Keyuan, ZOU, “Asian Approaches and Contributions to International Law” in ZOU Keyuan, ed., China-ASEAN Relations and International Law (Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2009), 21 at 26
159. CHESTERMAN, Simon and MAHBUBANI, Kishore, “The Asian Way of Handling the World” The Guardian (4 March 2010)
Kheng-Lian and Robinson, supra note 144 at 642−643
160. SEN, Amartya, “Human Rights and Asian Values” The New Republic (14−21 July 1997), 33 at 34
161. ASEAN Charter, supra note 143, art. 2(2)(a).
162. Charter of the United Nations, 26 June 1945 (entered into force 24 October 1945), online: UN 〈http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/〉, art. 2(1).
163. Consolidated Version of the Treaty on European Union, 7 February 1992, online: EUR-Lex 〈http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:083:0013:0046:en:PDF〉, arts. 4(1) and 5.
164. GINSBURG, Tom, “Eastphalia as the Perfection of Westphalia” (2010) 17 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 27 at 31−35
KAHLER, M., “Legalization As Strategy: The Asia-Pacific Case” (2000) 54 International Organization 549
165. Donald E. WEATHERBEE, International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) at 298.
166. Tay, supra note 26
168. Anghie and Chimni, supra note 158 at 83
169. Antony ANGHIE, “Universality and the Concept of Governance in International Law” in Edward Kofi QUASHIGAH and Obiora Chinedu OKAFOR, eds., Legitimate Governance in Africa: International and Domestic Legal Perspectives (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1999), 21 at 39
170. Panikkar, supra note 74 at 94
171. ALVAREZ, Jose E., “Institutionalised Legislation and the Asia-Pacific Region” (2007) 5 New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law 9 at 10
SINGH, Prabhakar, “The Scandal of Enlightenment and the Birth of Disciplines: Is International Law a Science?” (2010) 12 International Community Law Review 5 at 17
172. Lorraine ELLIOTT and Shaun BRESLIN, “Researching Comparative Regional Environmental Governance: Causes, Cases and Consequences” in Lorraine ELLIOTT and Shaun BRESLIN, eds., Comparative Environmental Regionalism (London: Routledge, 2011)
174. Chimni, supra note 72 at 39
175. See for e.g. Alvarez, supra note 171 at 20: “There is no such thing as an ‘Asia-Pacific region’.” See also ibid., at 41, addressing “Indian civilization” and “Asian civilizations”.
176. Refugee Convention, supra note 57.
177. Chimni, supra note 72 at 40.
179. CHIMNI, B.S., “A Just World Under Law: A View from the South” (2006) 22 American University International Law Review 199 at 215
Nancy FRASER, “Social Justice in the Age of Identity Politics: Redistribution, Recognition, and Participation” in Larry RAY and Andrew SAYER, eds., Culture and Economy after the Cultural Turn (London: Sage, 1999)
180. Chimni, supra note 72 at 41
SAID, Edward W., “The Clash of Ignorance” The Nation (22 October 2001) at 146
181. Chimni, supra note 72 at 42
182. Ibid., at 40.
183. Ibid., at 40−1.
184. Ibid., at 41.
185. Tay, supra note 26
186. BERMAN, P.S., “Global Legal Pluralism” (2006) 80 South California Law Review 1155
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187. Gemenne, supra note 94
188. Tay, supra note 70 at 768
189. Mayer, supra note 5
190. EL-HINNAWI, E., “Environmental Refugees”, United Nations Environment Programme, Report, 1985
* PhD candidate, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. This article builds on a class paper presented as part of Associate Professor Simon TAY Seong Chee's seminar on International Law in Asia. It results from the encounter of a Western student with Asian critical research on international law, in particular the Third World Approaches of International Law. An earlier draft was circulated as a working paper for the Earth System Governance project. I wish to thank Ingrid Boas, François Crépeau, Aysem Mert, Alan Tan Khee Jin, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft. All mistakes remain my own.
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