|Environmentally-Induced Population Displacements and Environmental Impacts Resulting from Mass Migrations (UNHCR, 1996, 128 p.)|
|Summary of Proceedings|
The Symposium was opened by Mr. James N. Purcell Jr., Director General of IOM, and Mr. Dennis Gallagher, Executive Director of RPG.
Mr. James N. Purcell Jr. said the joint preparation and organization of the Symposium was a prime example of inter-agency cooperation, and expressed his appreciation to the many donors who had supported it and sent experts to participate.
He recalled that the Symposium built on the problems identified in a January 1992 meeting, Migration and the Environment, which was organized by IOM and RPG in Nyon, Switzerland. That meeting had called attention to the need for strategies to assist those forced to leave their homes because of environmental degradation, to increase understanding of traditional coping mechanisms for dealing with environmental change, to address the root causes of environmental migration, and to minimize the impact of refugees on local ecosystems.
The aim of the Chavannes-de-Bogis Symposium was to identify concrete measures to prevent environmentally-induced displacements, to rehabilitate the affected areas and to mitigate negative environmental impacts resulting from mass migrations (see Extracts from Opening Speech, Annex 2).
Mr. Dennis Gallagher thanked the officers of the three organizing agencies for their having it made possible to hold the Symposium. He expressed the hope that the Symposium would produce both a set of consensus principles and a useful record of discussion. He was confident that the Symposium participants would actively debate potential solutions to the problems under discussion. He used the example of Rwanda, which continues to baffle policy-makers and planners, illustrative as it is of the destructive potential of competition for scarce land and other resources.