A Complex Constellation: Displacement, Climate Change and Arctic People

Brookings / by Elizabeth Ferris

What will be the impact and potential impact of climate change on the mobility of indigenous communities in the Arctic region. Will indigenous populations be forced to move elsewhere because of the effects of climate change? Will they be relocated by governments to protect them from an increasingly unstable environment – or perhaps for other less altruistic reasons?

This paper is part of a collaborative research project within the Foreign Policy program of the Brookings Institution which is examining issues and trends related to the Arctic including energy exploration, maritime security and governance. This study seeks to complement those efforts by focusing specifically on indigenous communities – the people who inhabit (albeit sparsely) the northernmost reaches of planet earth. It draws on three research papers commissioned for this project which examine the effects of climate change on human mobility in three Arctic countries: Alaska Native communities, the Russian North and the Scandinavian Arctic…


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