From the Editors

In light of the projected increase in the frequency and intensity of disasters associated with climate change, it is anticipated that the number of people displaced in the context of disasters – already significant – will rise. In the years since our 2008 issue on ‘Climate change and displacement’, the relocation of people at risk, the need for adaptation to the effects of climate change and the legal challenges around people displaced by climate-related threats have all been widely debated and researched. 

Existing national, regional and international legal regimes respond to only some of the protection concerns arising from displacement in the context of disasters. Crafting an appropriate response will demand a cross-sectoral approach – technical and scientific, political, humanitarian, human rights and developmental, among others – that addresses different forms of human mobility (displacement, migration and planned relocation). But while the voices of scientists, academics, politicians and development practitioners dominate the climate change debate, one of the authors here reminds us that “local knowledge, values and beliefs are essential elements of navigating the way forward for affected communities”. The articles in this issue attempt to reflect the research, the debates and the voices.

In 2015, the Nansen Initiative, led by the Governments of Norway and Switzerland, is bringing together states to discuss a Protection Agenda addressing the needs of people displaced in the context of disasters caused by natural hazards, including those linked to climate change. Some articles in this issue of FMR emanate from the Nansen Initiative’s regional consultations and civil society meetings that have been taking place since 2013.

We would like to thank Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat of the Nansen Initiative and Jeff Crisp for their assistance as advisors on this issue.

The full issue and all the individual articles are online in html, pdf and audio formats at This issue will be available in print and online in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. An expanded contents listing for the issue is available at Email if you would like print copies.

This issue also contains a mini-feature on female genital mutilation (FGM) in the context of asylum in Europe, available both inside this issue and as a stand-alone pdf at for separate use.

Please help disseminate this issue as widely as possible by circulating to networks, posting links, mentioning it on Twitter and Facebook and adding it to resources lists.

Details of our forthcoming issues – on the Western Balkans ‘20 years on from the Dayton Agreement’, and on ‘Thinking ahead: displacement, transition and solutions’ – can be found at Join us on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for email alerts at

With our best wishes

Marion Couldrey and Maurice Herson
Editors, Forced Migration Review


Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
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