11 Dec 2020
A l’envers: Setting the Stage for a Protective Environment to Deal with ‘Climate Refugees’ in Europe
Journal Article by Elisa Fornalé in "European Journal of Migration and Law" Vol. 22 (4), pp. 518-540, published by Brill | Nijhoff (2020).
The inventory of climate-related disasters is emblematic of the increasing impact of climate change and the concomitant rise in climate migration risk. It is becoming clear that, in the words of Ban Ki-moon, “no country or city—rich or poor—is immune”. At the same time, the design of normative measures is undergoing a radical redefinition, towards assuming a “preventive” role dictated by the imminent need to give a legal meaning to the uncertainty of this new epoch. The article starts from the recent adoption by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of a resolution on “A legal status for ‘climate refugees’” to explore the potential role an anticipatory approach may play in shaping disaster-affected mobility regimes. It is timely to reflect on its legal implications by discussing emerging practices and the challenges of a normative evolution, that even if fragile, can be understood as part of an effort to reframe the international legal order towards balancing sovereign and common concerns. By considering Italy’s contribution to the debate, the article sheds light on the role of domestic actors, such as courts and local authorities, as agents for legal development in multilevel environmental migration governance.