FROM REFUGE TO REFUGEE: THE AFRICAN CASE

In 1994, the United Nations introduced the concept of human security, predicating it on the dual notion of safety from chronic threats of hunger, disease, and repression on the one hand and protection from sudden and hurtful disruptions in daily life on the other. Such thinking helped foster the notion of "environmental refugee" to describe a new insight into an old phenomenon: large numbers of the world's least secure people seeking refuge from insecure biophysical environments. Yet, it can be misleading to assume that reducing environmental insecurity will avail more human security and, by extension, result in fewer environmental refugees. Under certain circumstances, more environmental security can generate a category of environmental refugees little noticed by those who have popularized this term. This paper concerns itself with the significant threat caused to human populations by exclusionary conservation. We begin by characterizing the human insecurity linked to increasing environmental security via protected area conservation, as a variant of environmental refugeeism. Using a combination of land use change and case study approaches, we estimate the number of Africans experiencing this phenomenon. We then place environmental refugeeism in the context of recent economic development theory and suggest why "environmental refugees" are in double jeopardy. That is, they often undergo a series of dislocations resulting from development initiatives, one form of which is protected area greenlining. We conclude with a discussion of one possible remedy for policy administrators seeking expanded conservation and a reduction in human displacement.


Issue Date:
2000
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/12777
Total Pages:
24
Series Statement:
Working Paper 38




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-23

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