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Migration, Development and Environment

image of Migration, Development and Environment

This book explores the conceptual framework of the interrelationships between migration, environment and development, which are among the most pressing issues on the contemporary global agenda. After a conceptualization of this relationship, the paper treats, in a depth analysis with tables and figures, main issues such as: environment as cause of migration in case of environmental disasters and environmental degradation; climate change and migration; displacement by large projects and impacts of migration on destination environments. The implications these have for policy are also considered.

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Displacement by large projects

One important way in which environmental change induces significant forced migration is through large infrastructure development projects. Such ‘mega projects’, especially dam construction, have become common, especially in LDCs where there are escalating demands for electricity and water associated with rapid urbanization (Cernea 1990; Cernea and McDowell 2000). In each case there are people displaced and forced to move elsewhere so there is another dimension of the development – migration inter-relationship (Cernea 1990, 300). One of the largest cases is the Three Gorges Dam Project located in the lower reaches of Yangtze River in China. The seventeen years of construction will be completed in 2009 and has involved a displacement of more than 1.2 million people. The Chinese government has had a range of approaches over the years for the resettlement of those displaced (Tan 2008b) involving settlement both near the dam and at more distant locations. However, Tan (2008b) has shown that many of those forcibly relocated have suffered significant losses despite government assistance.

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