Núcleo de Estudo e Pesquisa sobre Deslocados Ambientais

Núcleo de Estudo e Pesquisa sobre Deslocados Ambientais


Nepda aims to discuss about environmental displacement on different theoretical and methodological fields; identify the focus of environmental displacement, analysing the migration phenomenon by environmental motivation in a comparative way, from its forms, causes, and consequences, in order to seek the protection of the displaced people in the national and international levels; in addition to discussing the possibility of building a new international regime or enlarging the existing regimes to protect them in their basic fundamental rights and give them the missing security in all phases of the displacement processes.

Specific Aims:

  1. Map the world focus of environmental displacement, its causes and consequences, searching for parameters able to standardise environmentally Displaced People in order to categorise them and protect them;
  2. Examine the current international regimes of forced migration and of refugees in order to identify their actors and the role of each actor in the regime;
  3. Investigate the social, political, economic and cultural protection, nationally and internationally, given to environmentally displaced people mapped in the research, whether in the country of origin, in transit, or in the host country, in order to compare with the implementation of the international regime at national level;
  4. Find out, based on data collected, a way to seek means to protect environmentally displaced persons by one of the existing regimes or to build a new regime able to protect them, as well as protect their place of origin, the place while in transit, and the host place; and
  5. Suggest means to protect environmentally displaced persons, their place of origin, their place of destination, and their host place, providing them security and avoiding unnecessary conflicts which may hinder and negatively influence their integration in the host places, as well as the development of all international or national actors involved in the migration process.

Research Field:

Forced Migrants and Refugees

This research field focuses on migrants forced to leave their place of origin for many reasons, such as refugees, persecuted on grounds of race, religion, nationality, public opinion or social group membership, and are distinguished from IDPs because the latter does not cross the borders of their country of origin. There are, mainly, forced migrants by threat to safety and individual or collective survival, whose environmental degradation or climate change may be cause or consequence, though political, economic, and social reasons are interrelated. Among forced migrants, there are still refuge claimants, stateless and resettled people.

Environmental Degradation and Climate Change

This research field focuses on man-made, natural or mixed factors as causes or consequences of forced migration. Among the environmental causes of displacement, there are natural (climate-related or not), mixed (resulting from human action, but induced by natural factors) and man-made ones (political, economic, social and cultural, including desertification, deforestation, fires, construction and industrial accidents). Among the mixed factors, there is pollution of water resources, industrial accidents, megaprojects of development, nuclear testing, biodiversity reduction, depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation etc. Among the consequences, there are human rights violations, epidemics, increasing inequalities, destruction and reduction of forms of livelihood.

International Regimes and Human Rights Protection

This research field focuses on the theoretical and conceptual debate around the categories of forced migrants and refugees, particularly environmental displaced persons vis-à-vis existing international regimes to protect them, such as human rights protection regimes and environmental norms, including the climate change regime. It will seek to identify the actors, their roles and their responsibilities in the regimes, namely, norms, rules, principles, institutions and decision-making procedures necessary for protection of these categories of migrants, particularly of environmentally displaced persons, excluded from protection of the international refugee and forced migrants regimes.

Theories of Security Applied to Migration

This research field focuses on various aspects of the existing relationship between security and migration, from the state to the environmental and the humanitarian aspects. As a state security issue, migration flows are to be seen as a threat to national stability, and may affect, for example, the societal and environmental securities. Considering the migration dilemma, particularly the environmentally displaced persons, as a human security debate, there is a greater concern for the individual and, hence, migrants become the targets of protection.