Environmental disasters, climate change and displacement: a study on the effectiveness of the current legal refugee and human rights framework in protecting environmentally-displaced people in the European Union.
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While migratory movements steadily increase, factors that force people to move continue to change. Environmental damage and climate change have significant consequences on human security, which brings us to the core of this research: the nexus between climate change and migration. The relevance of the issue under examination has been well expressed by the literature, and studies have found a significant causal relationship between environmental factors and migration. It is precisely for this reason that this relatively new and unexplored field demands for higher legal and political attention, both at the international and at the European Union level. The scale of internal and cross-border migratory flow is expected to rise as a result of accelerated climate change which will force more and more people to leave their homes. This will unarguably have unprecedented impacts on human security all over the world, Europe included. Notwithstanding these predictions, to this day, the term ‘climate refugee’ is not internationally recognised, and the United Nations refugee convention does not provide long-term legal protection to people who flee their home countries due to extreme weather events. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, this research aims to find out to what extent the international, European, and national legal orders already provide for a degree of protection for environmental migrants. Secondly, recommendations on how to regulate the issue in question at the EU level will be provided.