Climate Refugees are on the Move

People are going to move regardless of climate change. If the land cannot provide for their needs or climate takes everything they own, people will move. As mentioned in Jeremie Labbe’s article, States and International Organization’s (IOs) need to prepare for the increasingly large numbers of migrants as it is already happening. Therefore it is in the best interest of UNHCR and states to change the mandate to encompass refugees of climate change.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) mandate has experienced multiple expansions and changes over the past 60 years.

The largest change in the mandate will state interests and agenda versus the international organizations themselves. As states are usually the main donors for mandates, especially UNHCR, their interests are elevated. According to Betts, 77% of funding comes from 10 donors. For example, the inception of UNHCR was focused towards US interests in protecting Europeans and their stance on the Cold War. Though Betts defends UNHCR by saying that the US was only helping UNHCR further the mission they were already on; UNHCR could not have gone far without ensuring the interest of the US. Therefore, the changes in mandates are state led rather than from the IO.

UNHCR is in an understandable situation. They are keeping a vertical relationship with states (interacting with multiple levels of government), while keeping a horizontal relationship with other international organizations (cooperation). However, it is possible to expand the mandate to aid all climate refugees through the interests of states. Just as the mandate gained US support through action, it can also gain the funding of states with significant climate change.

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One thought on “Climate Refugees are on the Move”

  1. Good evening Mireille. First of all, I completely agree with the points you made on your blogpost. States do exercise there own will upon international organizations which they control. Nonetheless, since these these organization also have established bureaucracies, they work with their own interest in mind. Sometimes, the organization’s interests change depending on the person in power. So, even though yes, states exercise some form of power within these organization, I think that the bureaucratic nature of these institutions allow them to have some sort of independence from their donors.

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