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Panel organisers: Anwesha Dutta & Hanna Geschewski , Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen, Norway
This panel delves into the multifaceted social-ecological dimensions of displacement, focusing on complex, nuanced and everyday forms of human-environment interactions within protracted refugee and IDP settings.
Existing approaches to this nexus in humanitarian studies and beyond are limited, broadly falling into two categories. The first assesses the environmental implications of displacement and resettlement, pointing to linkages between factors such as population density and ecological changes such as shifts in forest cover or soil degradation, although the controversial notion of refugees as "exceptional resource degraders" has been largely refuted. The second approach studies environment and climate as drivers of migration, and the many forms climate-related mobility can take along a continuum from adaptive strategy to forced displacement.
This panel aims to bridge disciplinary and conceptual divides by fostering discussions that transcend viewing environmental change as a driver or outcome of (forced) displacement. It seeks fresh insights into the entire spectrum of displacement ecologies, probing practices of emplacement within urban, rural, and camp settings and examining their interplay with the nonhuman environment. Natural elements like plants, livestock, forests, and agriculture all shape the experience of (forced) displacement.
This interdisciplinary panel brings together scholars from humanitarian and migration studies, human geography, remote sensing, socio-ecological systems research, and other fields engaged in contemporary, historical, and comparative examinations of the displacement-environment nexus. Key questions addressed empirically and theoretically include:
- How is everyday life in humanitarian displacement settings, including aspects of food, shelter, or work, mediated through the environment?
- How do people in protracted settlements engage with and transform the biophysical landscape?
- What is the environment’s role in shaping socio-economic wellbeing in refugee/IDP settlements?
- How do governance and institutional drivers shape displaced people’s ecological engagements?
- What are the emerging data needs for policy and practice within the arc of displacement and how best such needs can be mapped and utilised?