Population, Law and the Environment


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Elizabeth Cripps

Usage Statistics Information We log anonymous usage statistics. Abstract Enhancing the protection of persons displaced by natural disasters and the impacts of climate change will require sustained attention. This article identifies practical solutions, many of which are currently under consideration by governments and international organizations, to improve the lives of millions of people affected by environmental crises. It begins with a brief overview of why people move, the nature of those movements, and the relationship between human mobility and adaptation to environmental change by highlighting three types of mobility — migration, displacement and planned relocation.

Next, the international and regional level will be discussed, with particular focus on legislative and policy frameworks for addressing human mobility in the context of environmental change. The article identifies gaps in existing frameworks as well as recent efforts to address them, particularly through mini-multilateral initiatives aimed at identifying principles and practices that should guide governmental action.


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The article concludes that efforts to improve responses require a better evidence base than currently exists on issues such as the environmental determinants of migration, displacement and planned relocation; the multi-faceted ways in which environmental factors relate to the many other causes of population movements in the cases of human mobility; and the impact of such movements on the well-being of migrants, communities of origin, and communities of destination. Keywords Migration; Environmental change; Displacement; Planned relocation.

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The second area of Japan's efforts involved financial support to developing countries when taking part in international conferences where treaty negotiations are conducted. The dramatic increase of environmental treaties has entailed a steep rise in the number of such intergovernmental conferences.


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To ensure that these treaties are meaningful, Japan believes that it is essential to have the widest possible participation during the stage of treaty negotiations, particularly by developing countries. Acting on that conviction, Japan actively provides logistical support to developing countries eager to take part in such international conferences. Third, Japan is contributing to solving global environmental problems through Official Development Assistance. Japan's ODA is implemented taking into account the importance of environmental conservation in economic development.

Japan had accomplished its goal in fiscal , with the total amount reached at approx. Japan believes it is important to assist developing countries' self-help efforts, thus emphasizes the kind of assistance which creates a long-range impact by developing human resources.

One of the good examples of such cooperation is Japan's efforts to set up environmental research and training centers in Asia which aims at improving the capacity of the government to tackle local environmental problems. Three centers are now in full operation in Indonesia, Thailand and China. Japan provides technical assistance through these centers.

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The Main purpose of these two UNEP facilities is to transfer environmentally sound technologies to developing countries. The Global Environment Facility GEF is an international multilateral funding mechanism set up in , previous to the UNCED , with a view to contributing to the solutions to global-scale environmental problems. The work of the fund is directed toward four areas: climate change, biological diversity, international waters and ozone layer depletion. Japan is channeling massive funding to the GEF for addressing global environmental problems.

Japan believes it is appropriate to make a funding strategy for achieving the most effective use of limited financial resources from a balanced overall point of view of global environmental problems.

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This amount was the second largest, next to the United States. The environmental problem, at its most basic level, is a matter of mind-set and life-style. Changing long-held attitudes is a long-term task, and individuals must pay greater attention to the environment in their life-styles; governments must do likewise.

One of the most important initiatives taken by the Government of Japan is the establishment of its environmental legislation. The Basic Environment Law, which went into force in , goes beyond Japan's own pollution problems. This comprehensive law provides for full-scale measures to deal with environmental problems on a global scale.

Based on the Basic Environment Law, this action plan is expected to lead to a comprehensive environmental policy.

At the local level, the spirit of the Basic Environment Law has spawned a local initiative known as "Local Agenda Closely connected to environmental problems is the problem of population.

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