This project investigated the current and potential scope of international protection as well as other forms of protection (in particular humanitarian protection) for persons displaced in the context of climate change in the EU, in particular in Austria and Sweden. It was carried out in partnership with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights and was supported by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund.
Climate change is becoming an increasingly important factor in regard to migration and displacement. Although most persons affected by climate change-related mobility remain in their regions of origin, some of them (will) arrive in Europe, including Austria and Sweden. However, the legal status of persons arriving in Europe in this context is still inadequately addressed (normative protection gap).
About the ClimMobil Project
Firstly, the status quo at the global level as well as regional European level (Geneva Refugee Convention, international human rights law) is analysed. In a second step, relevant EU law, in particular the EU Qualification Directive, is assessed.
In analysing the scope of international protection, social factors, such as inequality and discrimination, that are important dimensions concerning the impact of climate change in general and in the context of climate change-related displacement in particular, are taken into account. For the purpose of embedding the legal questions into a broader international policy framework, the latest international institutional and policy developments in the context of climate/environmental change-related mobility and their implications for Austria and Europe will be analysed.
Case studies of Austria and Sweden as two EU Member States are conducted to explore and analyse the situation at a national level. National legal frameworks and jurisprudence will be assessed in the light of international law and EU legal standards.
Finally, the proposed project aims to draft recommendations on how to address normative gaps.
Matthew Scott is senior researcher and leader of the Human Rights and the Environment thematic area at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He is also adjunct senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Lund University. His work focuses on integrating social science perspectives with international legal standards to promote context-sensitive, human rights-based law, policy and practice relating to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. His primary area of expertise concerns migration and displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, on which he has published a monograph entitled Climate Change, Disasters and the Refugee Convention (CUP 2020), an edited volume entitled Climate Change, Disasters and Internal Displacement in Asia and the Pacific: A Human Rights-Based Approach (Routledge 2021) and a range of book chapters and academic articles. Current research interests concern the role of local authorities in addressing climate- and disaster-related migration and displacement.
He holds a PhD in Public International Law from Lund University and a MA in Social Anthropology of Development from SOAS. He practiced immigration and asylum law in London before entering academia. He is a member of the advisory committee of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the editorial board of the Yearbook of International Disaster Law, and a founding member of the Nordic Network on Climate Related Displacement and Mobility.
At Lund University he convenes the introduction to human rights law course and the short course on human rights law, the environment and climate change on the LLM in international human rights law programme. He also lectures on the MSc programme in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Matthew is also actively engaged in international collaboration initiatives and is currently working with municipal authorities in Nairobi, Kampala and Freetown to explore human rights-based approaches to addressing climate-related displacement.
For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile: