The role of international organizations in equitable and just planned relocation

Gabriela Nagle Alverio, Sara H. Hoagland, Erin Coughlan de Perez, Katharine J. Mach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 2010, States party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have recognized planned relocation as a viable adaptation to climate change. Planned relocation has been attempted in many communities globally and has raised serious issues of equity in some cases. Implementation driven by principles of equity is crucial in ensuring successful planned relocations that decrease loss and damage. In this Policy Analysis, we put forth a framework for equitable planned relocation rooted in theories of justice as a basis for implementation. The framework centers around three principles: comprehensive recognition of affected stakeholders in decision-making, consideration of socio-cultural risk factors relevant to relocation, and evaluation of multiple measures of well-being. There are many actors involved in planned relocation. Unique features and abilities of international organizations lend themselves to promoting equitable planned relocation in partnership with other stakeholders. Through the exploration of case studies, we identify best practices that international organizations have available to influence the design, implementation, and evaluation of planned relocation processes. These practices are relevant when striving for equity for all affected individuals and communities. Points of intervention include agenda-setting and advocacy, funding and implementation standards, and facilitation of international cooperation. International organizations also face barriers to supporting equitable planned relocation. Limitations include lack of enforcement mechanisms, limited resources, and fundamental dependence on existing governance structures and global collaboration. As the necessity of planned relocations grows, the need for leadership from international organizations in implementation is magnified, underscoring the importance of developing and evaluating approaches to just implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Climate migration
  • Climate mobility
  • Equitable planned relocation
  • International organizations
  • Planned relocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)


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