Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Population, Desertification, and Migration

  • Arthur H. Westing (a1)
Abstract

It is noted that the number of more or less permanently displaced persons throughout the world (now of the order of 1% of the total human population) continues to increase at a rate of approximately 3 millions per year; the situation in Africa is especially grave, with the number of displaced persons there (now of the order of 3% of the African population), continuing to increase at a rate of approximately 1.5 million per year. Human displacement — which can be seen to originate largely in rural areas — results primarily from one or more of three factors, namely escape from persecution, escape from military activities, or escape from inadequate means of subsistence. A number of examples from Africa are provided of the social and political consequences of human displacement, with emphasis on conflict situations at the sites of relocation.

It is further noted that the numbers of displaced persons continue to grow relentlessly despite there being no discernible rise in persecution or military activities, and despite the long-sustained ameliorative efforts and financial assistance by intergovernmental agencies and others.

It is accordingly suggested that the major cause of the continuing increase in the numbers of displaced persons is an ever-growing imbalance between population numbers and the human carrying capacity of the land. Population increases lead to smaller per caput natural resource bases, a predicament exacerbated by over-use — and thus degradation — of the land and its natural resources. In the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa, over-use of the land most often takes the form of overgrazing, leading to land degradation that is severe enough to be referred to as desertification. It is concluded that to achieve sustainable utilization of the land and its natural resources will necessitate the integrated attainment of environmental security and societal security — the latter inter alia requiring participatory governance, non-violent means of conflict resolution, and especially population controls.

Copyright
References
Hide All
ACDA (1991). World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers 1990, 21st edn.US Arms Control & Disarmament Agency, Washington, DC, USA: v + 148 pp., illustr.
Amer R., Heldt B., Landgren S., Magnussen K., Melander E., Nordquist K.-A., Ohlson T. & Wallensteen P. (1993). Major armed conflicts. SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford), 1993, pp. 81130.
Falkenmark M. (1989). Massive water scarcity now threatening Africa: why isn't it being addressed? Ambio (Stockholm), 18, pp. 112–8.
FAO (1993). Key Aspects of Strategies for the Sustainable Development of Drylands. Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN, Rome, Italy: 60 pp.
Fox R. (1993). Inner Sea: the Mediterranean and Its People, rev. edn. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA: xiii + 577 pp., illustr.
Gastil R.D. (1982). Comparative survey of freedom: the tenth year. Freedom at Issue [now Freedom Review] (New York), 1982(64), pp. 314.
Golini A., Gerano G. & Heins F. (1991). South-North migration with special reference to Europe. International Migration (Geneva), 29, pp. 253–79.
Goose S.D. (1987). Armed conflicts in 1986, and the Iraq-Iran War. SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford), 1987, pp. 297320.
Hamilton K.A. & Holder K. (1991). International migration and foreign policy: a survey of the literature. Washington Quarterly (Cambridge, Massachusetts), 14(2), pp. 195211.
IBRD (1992). World Development Report 1992: Development and the Environment, 15th edn.International Bank for Reconstruction & Development [World Bank], Washington, DC, USA: xii + 308 pp., illustr.
IBRD (1993). World Development Report 1993: Investing in Health, 16th edn.International Bank for Reconstruction & Development [World Bank], Washington, DC, USA: xii + 329 pp., illustr.
INCD (1993). Elaboration of an International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa: Negotiating Text of the Convention. UN General Assembly, New York, NY, USA: Document Nr A/AC. 241/15 (19 11 1993), 27 pp.
Jacobsen K. (1994). Impact of Refugees on the Environment: a Review of the Evidence. Refugee Policy Group, Washington, DC, USA: v + 49 pp.
Lindgren K., Wilson G.K. & Wallensteen P. (1989). Major armed conflicts in 1988. SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford), 1989, pp. 339–55.
Loescher G. (1992). Refugee Movements and International Security. (Adelphi Paper Nr 268.) International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, England, UK: 83 pp.
McColm R.B. (Ed.) (1991). Freedom in the World: Political Rights and Civil Liberties 1990–1991. Freedom House, New York, NY, USA: 479 pp.
McColm R.B. (1992 a). Comparative survey of freedom 1991–1992: between two worlds. Pp. 4752 in Freedom in the World: Political Rights & Civil Liberties 1991–1992 (Ed. McColm R.B.). Freedom House, New York, NY, USA: 592 pp.
McColm R.B. (Ed.) (1992 b). Freedom in the World: Political Rights & Civil Liberties 1991–1992. Freedom House, New York, NY, USA: 592 pp.
McColm R.B. (Ed.) (1993). Freedom in the World: the Annual Survey of Political Rights & Civil Liberties 1992–1993. Freedom House, New York, NY, USA: 637 pp.
Mohamed Salih M.A.see Salih, M.A. Mohamed.
Molvaer R.K. (1991). Environmentally induced conflicts?: a discussion based on studies from the Horn of Africa. Bulletin of Peace Proposals [now Security Dialogue] (Oslo), 22, pp. 175–88.
Myers N. (1987). Population, environment, and conflict. Environmental Conservation (Geneva), 14(1), pp. 1522, table.
Myers N. (1993). How many migrants for Europe? People & the Planet (London), 2(3), p. 28.
Ruthström C. (19901991). Refugees and European security. Swedish Institute of International Affairs Yearbook (Stockholm), 1990–91, pp. 159–70.
Salih M.A.Mohamed (1993). Environmental conflicts in African lands: cases from Sudan and Nigeria. Pp. 116–35 in Perspectives on Environmental Conflict and International Relations (Ed. Käkönen J.). Pinter Publishers, London, England, UK: vii + 162 pp., illustr.
Salt J. (1993). Migration and Population Change in Europe. UN Institute for Disarmament Research, Geneva, Switzerland: Research Paper Nr 19, ix + 81 pp.
Sivard R.L. (1993). World Military and Social Expenditures 1993, 15th edn.World Priorities, Washington, DC, USA: 56 pp., illustr.
Suhrke A. (1993). Pressure Points: Environmental Degradation, Migration and Conflict. American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: pp. 343 in International Security Studies Program, Occasional Paper Series Nr 3, 67 pp.
Suliman M. (1992). Civil War in Sudan: the Impact of Ecological Degradation. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Center for Security Studies & Conflict Research plus Swiss Peace Foundation, Zürich, Switzerland: Environment & Conflicts Project, Occasional Paper Nr 4, 34 pp.
Tolba M.K. (1991). Status of Desertification and Implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action to Combat Desertification. UN Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya: Document Nr UNEP/GCSS. 111/3 (15 Oct. 91), xv + 88 pp. + Add. 1 (30 Dec.91), 6 pp. + Corr. I/Rev. 1 (27 Jan. 92), 1 p.
UN (1993). Agenda 21: Programme of Action for Sustainable Development: Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: Statement of Forest Principles. United Nations, New York, NY, USA: Publication Nr DPI/1344 (04 1993), 294 pp.
UNEP (1993). Desertification: A. Implementation of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification in 1991–1992: B. Financing and Other Measures in Support of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification: C. Implementation in the Sudano-Sahelian Region of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification. UN Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya: Governing Council Decision Nr 17/19 (21 05 1993), 4 pp.
UNEP & ISRIC (1990). World Map of Status of Human-induced Soil Degradation. UN Environment Programme, Nairobi: map, variable scale (1:4 650 000 to 1:15 000 000), 3 sheets, each 93 × 136 cm + explanatory note, iv + 25 pp., illustr.
UNFPA (1993). State of World Population 1993: the Individual and the World: Population, Migration and Development in the 1990s. UN Population Fund [UNFPA], New York, NY, USA: iii + 54 pp., illustr.
UNGA (1992). Establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Elaboration of an International Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa. UN General Assembly, New York, NY, USA: Resolution Nr 47/188 (22 12 1992), 3 pp.
UNHCR (1993). State of the World's Refugees 1993: the Challenge of Protection. UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland: vii + 191 pp., illustr. [Also: Penguin Books, New York.]
UNSO (1992). Assessment of Desertification and Drought in the Sudano-Sahelian Region 1985–1991. UN Sudano-Sahelian Office, New York, NY, USA: xiv + 102 pp., illustr.
Wallensteen P. & Axell K. (1993). Armed conflict at the end of the cold war, 1989–92. Journal of Peace Research (Oslo), 30. pp. 331–46.
Westing A.H. (1982). War as a human endeavour: the high-fatality wars of the twentieth century. Journal of Peace Research (Oslo), 19, pp. 261–70.
Westing A.H. (1989). Environmental component of comprehensive security. Bulletin of Peace Proposals [now Security Dialogue] (Oslo), 20, pp. 129–34.
Westing A.H. (1990). Our place in Nature: reflections on the global carrying-capacity for humans. Pp. 109–20 in Maintenance of The Biosphere (Eds Polunin N. & Burnett J.H.). Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: xvi + 228 pp., illustr.
Westing A.H. (1991). Environmental security and its relation to Ethiopia and Sudan. Ambio (Stockholm), 20, pp. 168–71.
Westing A.H. (1992). Environmental refugees: a growing category of displaced persons. Environmental Conservation, 19(3), pp. 201–7, 4 tables.
Widgren J. (1989). Europe and international migration in the future: the necessity for merging migration, refugee, and development policies. Pp. 4961 in Refugees and International Relations (Eds Loescher G. & Monahan L.). Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, UK: xii + 430 pp.
Widgren J. (1990). International migration and regional stability. International Affairs (Cambridge, England, UK), 66, pp. 749–66.
Wilson G.K. & Wallensteen P. (1988). Major armed conflicts in 1987. SIPRI Yearbook (Oxford), 1988, pp. 285–98.
WRI (1992). World Resources 1992–93: a Report by the World Resources Institute, 5th edn.Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA: xiv + 385 pp., illustr.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 24 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 237 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.