Pulling Back the Curtain on the Security Oz
Multilateral Governance and Genuine Sustainability in a Warming World
This chapter concludes the volume. It examines the challenges of incorporating CIM into international relations theory. Although the limitations and pitfalls of a security-minded approach are evident, the challenges of “desecuritizing” climate-induced migration are profound. Is it enough to merely point out the securitization? What then? Entrenched interests are keen on sustaining militarized borders, detention centers, and lucrative smuggling networks. Fences make good politics. Good business, too. Security measures bolster the profits of traffickers, which in turn justify further security measures. Moreover, the international community is not in a position to extend recognition to—or contend with the challenges posed by—climate refugees. It is difficult enough to protect “convention refugees,” the political refugees protected under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Nonetheless, this chapter examines the opportunities for enhanced cooperation, especially at the regional level. It seeks to contribute to efforts to steer the normative discourse away from security and toward a more nuanced and constructive approach to climate-induced migration, one that emphasizes improved governance and a focus on “development and climate” initiatives. Emphasizing that CIM is a real phenomenon, yet one that is not expected to induce a rush toward North Atlantic borders, the book concludes with a call for deeper efforts to mitigate GHG emissions; development policies that promote genuine sustainability; and a reduction in support for security initiatives and military expenditures by North Atlantic and transit states that do not address the challenges posed by climate change. This is a tall order. Nevertheless, it is preferable to a misguided security orientation. In the context of climate change, “adaptation” has long implied resigned acceptance and/or giving up on mitigation. Yet it need not be cast as acquiescence. Adaptation is a dynamic, innovative, and creative process that must be pursued.
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