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Environmental Migration

Environmental Migration

Persons leave their homes within their country of origin or across borders for different reasons – often the environment constitutes one of the factors – together with economic, political or social factors – leading to migration (e.g. droughts, desertification, floods, sea level rise). Increasingly, climate change is responsible for such environmental changes. In several cases of environment-related migration, a clear-cut distinction between voluntary and involuntary migration is difficult – particularly in cases of droughts where persons can fulfil their daily needs only under difficult circumstances and therefore decide to leave their homes. This raises questions regarding their legal status, in particular the question whether they are eligible for international protection.

In the past we conducted research on the legal status of persons displaced inter alia by environmental factors under international and EU law. The project ClimMig: Climate-induced migration and the need for new normative and institutional frameworks focused on the question to what extent legal and institutional frameworks at global, European and Austrian level regulate or take climate-related migration sufficiently into account. In this context not only forced migration but also the role of voluntary migration as adaption measure was investigated.

A recent project ClimAccount: Human Rights Accountability of the EU and Austria for Climate Policies in Third Countries and their possible Effects on Migration aims at shedding light on the complex relationship between climate policies, migration and human rights by focussing on the effects of EU’s and Austria’s climate policies for the enjoyment of human rights of persons in third countries and their possible repercussions for displacement, resettlement and/or relocation. In this context (extraterritorial) human rights obligations of the EU and Austria will be identified.

18 December: International Migrants Day

International Migrants Day 2021

On International Migrants Day, states are encouraged to promote awareness about human and fundamental rights of migrants and to advance measures to protect them. In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly designated 18 December as World Migrants Day to mark the anniversary of the adoption of the "International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families" in 1990. 


ClimMobil: Judicial and policy responses to climate change-related mobility in the European Union with a focus on Austria and Sweden

Climate change is becoming an increasingly important factor with regard to migration and displacement. Although most persons affected by climate change-related mobility remain in their regions of origin, some of them (will) arrive in Europe, including in Austria. However, the legal status of persons arriving in Europe in this context is still inadequately addressed (normative protection gap).

Monika Mayrhofer for Minority Report 2019

Minority Report 2019

Climate change will have profound impacts on the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. The report "Minority and Indigenous Trends 2019" discusses the challenges of climate change and the topic of climate justice with regard to minorities' and indigenous peoples' rights. The chapter written by Monika Mayrhofer gives a short overview of the discussion on terminology and regulation of mobility in the context of climate change, with a particular reference to minorities and indigenous peoples.

Presentation of the BEIGEWUM Kurswechsel Heft 3/2016: Klimapolitik und Systemwandel

Zeitschrift Kurswechsel [Logo]

The following authors will be discussing the new issue of Kurswechsel: Monika Mayrhofer (Ludwig Boltzmann Institute), Nora Räthzel (University of Umea) and Christoph Streissler (AK Wien)

The discussion will be chaired by Michael Soder (WU Wien) and Florian Wukovitsch (AK Wien)

The event will be in German.

Republikanischer Club, Rockhgasse 1, 1010 Wien

Climaccount Policy Brief

Cover ClimAccount Policy Brief

The research project "ClimAccount Human Rights Accountability of the EU and Austria for Climate Policies in Third Countries and their Possible Effects on Migration" has published a policy brief summarising the most important findings of the project and presenting recommendations to policy makers in order to ensure human rights when implementing climate action.