Tackling Climate-Related Displacement: Balancing 'Alleviating Suffering' and 'Climate Justice'

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Number of paper presentations 4


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Climate-related events such as floods, cyclones, and droughts are widely recognized as possible important contributors (among others) to displacement, and their significance is increasingly acknowledged. Various research institutes continuously update their analysis and projections of displacement numbers to highlight its consequences. While there are ongoing concerns regarding the causal relationship between these events as hazards and displacement, it has become clear that extreme weather events can result in significant human suffering, as reported worldwide.

Humanitarian and climate change-related actors play a crucial role in shaping the agenda and actions related to climate-related displacement. Collaboration between these sectors is common for knowledge exchange and sharing approaches. However, it is not always clear whether the fundamental values of these two entities are inherently aligned. The humanitarian sector places great importance on ensuring and promoting the alleviation of suffering (or 'humanity') for affected individuals, which serves as the primary basis for humanitarian actions. On the other hand, climate change experts increasingly discuss the issue through the lens of 'climate justice,' especially concerning the topic of loss and damage.

Recognizing that the concepts of ‘humanity’ and ‘climate justice’ can be contextual and socially constructed, this panel raises questions about the interrelation between these two goals supporting climate-related displaced people. Is it feasible to harmonize these two approaches? What role disaster-related actors and frameworks can play in balancing these short- and long-term approaches? Are there specific instances where these concepts might be at odds with each other? How might they affect and possibly transform each other's values, methodologies, and actions? To enrich our understanding of the proposed agenda, this panel invites theoretical and empirical insights from affected people, civil society, academia, practitioners and other relevant actors working on climate change, disasters, displacement, and humanitarian action.

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