Refugee movements the world over have had an unfortunate aftermath: the degradation of environment. The UN hcr has now come out with a set of guidelines on how best to deal with transboundary peregrinations
in order to better understand and deal with the negative environmental impact associated with refugee situations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( unhcr ) has come out with a document titled unhcr Environmental Guidelines . The guidelines are the first of the Commission's three initiatives to mitigate environmental degradation brought about by refugee movements. Released recently in Geneva, the document has been the result of a growing realisation that refugee-related environmental impacts had serious implications on the health and well-being of the local population as well as the refugees.
According to unhcr estimates, there are 14.5 million refugees worldwide. In areas populated by large number of refugees, three principal types of environmental change observed were deforestation, land degradation and reduction in quantity and quality of water supply."Prior to their repatriation, the million-plus Mozam-bican refugees in Malawi were consuming between 500,000 and 700,000 cubic metres of wood each year for cooking and heating purposes - a rate of use far in excess of the country's natural replenishment capacity," notes the State of the World's Refugees, 1995 , highlighting the extent of damage to forests, in just one instance. This utilisation alone translated into 20,000 ha of forests to be cut down annually. The Mozam--bican refugees were in Malawi for nearly a decade, from the late '80s to the first half of the '90s.
|Displaced: the current total number of refugees in the world|
|Indugenous entrants: refuges in India|
|Place of origin||Number (in '000)|
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