Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ghost States: what becomes of a nation underwater?

As a quick follow up to my Tuesday posting on climate change, the U.K. online paper, The Guardian, ran an interesting article that outlines one of the real political dilemmas from rising sea levels in some island regions: the development of "ghost states."

If your an island state that must face the real possibly of finding yourself underwater, what becomes of your nation? What of the nationality of your people who must now relocate? Are they immigrants from a nation that no longer exists? Do they renounce citizenship? And what of the nation's financial assets and infrastructure?

"As independent nations they receive certain rights and privileges that they will not want to lose. Instead they could become like ghost states," he said. "This is a pressing issue for small island states, but in the case of physical disappearance there is a void in international law," says Francois Gemenne of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

The Guardian reported, "'Industrialised countries have a duty to provide adaptation funding to make sure the costs of migration do not have to be met by the countries where the migration will happen,' Gemmene said. Such migrants should not be considered "resourceless victims" and financial assistance needed to go beyond basic humanitarian aid and pay for infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. Up to a billion people could eventually be made to move because of climate change."

Read entire Guardian Article.

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