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07 April 2022

Governments need to be more transparent about planned relocation

In the latest Forced Migration review, PhD researcher, Rachel Harrington-Abrams, explains how a lack of accountability and transparency around decisions on relocation and climate adaptation can lead to negative outcomes.

Displaced peoples camp in Herat, Afghanistan

Whilst governments undertaking climate adaptation plans receive guidance from UN bodies and agencies, the plans often lack explicit goals, making it difficult to measure their success, a new paper explains.

The paper by Rachel Harrington-Abrams, PhD researcher in King’s Department of Geography, also shows that this is compounded as countries aren’t required to report on relocation plans.

Harrington-Abrams explains that “gathering data on where and how these policies are being used is essential to understanding how relocation is collectively and practically applied as adaptation.”

Without better data tracking or ways to measure success, it’s also hard to hold governments to account on how the plans are enacted.

Although local involvement of communities often underpins the success of such schemes, there are currently few incentives to include affected communities in choosing how and when to use relocation. 

As more people are displaced due to climate change, we have no way of knowing the number of people being relocated or how they’re being relocated. It’s imperative that countries share more information on their climate adaptation plans so we know that the interests of the people affected are always protected.”

Rachel Harrington-Abrams

Harrington-Abrams looks to the Fijian government’s top-down policy framework as a potential model to improve transparency in relocation planning. Fiji’s Planned Relocation Framework established a set of mandates to follow to protect the populations being relocated and is supported by a Climate Relocation and Displaced Peoples Trust.

Read the full paper in the Forced Migration review.

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