Protecting environmentally displaced persons under the Kampala Convention: a brief assessment


  • Alfredo dos Santos Soares CEDIS, Faculdade de Direito, Universidade Nova de Lisboa


Paraules clau:

disasters - climate change – migration - States obligations - Kampala Convention


The progressive geography of climate change impacts places the African continent among the most vulnerable regions of the world. In line with the prediction of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its first report (1990), the involuntary migration of population is already proving to be one of the most serious of such impacts across the region. The overwhelming majority of victims remain within their own countries. Therefore, coupled with conflict, violence and development projects, slow-onset and rapid-onset disasters have currently made Africa home to the largest number of internally displaced people. Determined to tackle this plight, on 23rd October 2009 the African Union adopted its Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), articulating the need for a holistic response based on a combined framework of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Five years since the convention entered into force (on 6th December 2012), this paper aims to taking stock of the progress made in its implementation and, in particular, assessing its effectiveness in protecting people environmentally displaced in the context of climate change. To this end, it identifies the existing and ongoing normative, policy and institutional processes on domestication and implementation of the convention and explores the degree to which these processes provide for the protection due to people displaced by environmental disasters, specially those slow-onset (e.g. desertification). The paper finds that, despite the remarkable efforts towards the implementation of the said convention, the concrete impact of its provisions on enhancing the protection of and assistance to environmental IDPs is still unperceivable. Much work remains to be done to translate this innovative instrument into practice, particularly to secure concrete improvements in the protection of IDPs by disasters in context of climate change. 


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Biografia de l'autor/a

Alfredo dos Santos Soares, CEDIS, Faculdade de Direito, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Doctor en Migraciones Internacionales Contemporáneas (Derecho Público) por la Universidad Pontificia Comillas; docente (tutor) en el Máster en Cooperación Internacional al Desarrollo de la misma Universidad; investigador miembro del CEDIS, Faculdade de Direito, Universidade Nova de Lisboa


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Com citar

Soares, A. dos S. (2018). Protecting environmentally displaced persons under the Kampala Convention: a brief assessment. Revista Catalana De Dret Ambiental, 9(1).