n Journal for Contemporary History - Environmental migration in Southern Africa : towards a proposed strategy for action

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2422
  • E-ISSN: 2415-0509



In the past thirty years environmental problems, and inevitably environmental degradation, have gained considerable momentum. One of the net results of such degradation is manifested in growing numbers of people across the world who are forced to leave degraded and uninhabitable lands. These people are commonly referred to as environmental refugees, and encompass a very diverse category of migrants. It includes people fleeing prolonged droughts, floods, desertification and land degradation, but also those who are threatened by industrial disasters, rising sea levels and development projects such as the construction of large dams. These people are often internally displaced - forced to migrate within their country of origin, or, just as regularly, become international migrants - forced to migrate to a place outside their national borders. Although both these groups are of concern, this article aims explicitly at the issue of environmentally forced international migration due to the potential that this has for impacting on regional political security, economic stability and social dynamics.

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