Migration and Climate Change: Legal and Practical Challenges

Event: November 29, 2017, Room 316 NCDH, McGill Faculty of Law, 13:00-14:30

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underscored that the gravest effects of climate change may be those on human migration. Although environmental change related human movement is not a new phenomenon, there is a growing concern that the numbers of persons displaced as a result of the current and future trends in global climate change could turn out to be unmanageably large. This concern has sparked debates in legal, policy and academic circles on what should be done to address the plight of those who migrate or are displaced because of events that have resulted from or become aggravated by climate change. The talk will engage with literature proposing legal and policy responses to address this phenomenon, including creative interpretation of existing international law, and the adoption of a new multilateral instrument (a stand-alone multilateral instrument or a protocol to the Refugee Convention or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and it will also discuss the developing jurisprudence on climate change and migration in New Zealand’s courts.

Speaker: Hanna Haile

Hanna Haile is Steinberg Post-Doctoral Fellow at the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Her research and writing interests lie in the fields of international human rights, migration, environmental law, sustainability and intellectual property rights, with a particular interest on the question of how cultural phenomena shape and are shaped by law. Recently, she has been working on a project on the impacts of the activities of copper mining companies on communities living on the Copperbelt of Zambia. She holds a J.S.D. and an LL.M. from Cornell Law School and LL.B. from the University of Asmara. Prior to joining the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, she has worked for the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Cornell University, the University of Asmara and the High Court of Asmara in Eritrea.

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