About This Blog

Tuvalu kids. Photo credit: Toby Parkinson

What we are all about

Toward Recognition is a blog with the primary goal of raising awareness of environmental migrants (commonly known as “climate refugees”) among academics, policy makers, the media, and the general public. The visibility of this issue is brought to the forefront of public perception through the conveyance of relevant articles, media, events, links, and current news. For more information on environmental migration and environmental migrants, click here.

Towards recognition of who or what?

Ultimately, Towards Recognition would like to see ongoing formal and international recognition of environmental migrants in various forms, including an ambitious United Nations instrument. Each individual action, program, or policy initiative by governments, agencies, and organizations around the world which recognizes the link between the impact of climate change and human mobility is one step closer to this goal and a huge step forward for environmental migrants worldwide.

Our position is that the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees should not be amended to address climate change related human mobility. Any initiative to widen the scope of the current convention may be overwhelming, and most countries would likely not sign. This could inevitably result in a lowering of protection standards for refugees and even undermine the international refugee protection regime altogether.

A new legal and binding instrument by the United Nations could provide internationally assured protection to those who are displaced by specific environmental factors related to climate change. Formal recognition in this instrument will provide the protection to environmental migrants within their own country, as well as when they cross borders into neighboring countries. This is viewed by Towards Recognition as one of the greatest achievements in the strive for recognition of environmental migrants.

Who is the creator of this blog?

My name is Dan DaSilva and I am an independent researcher and information specialist on the specific issue of environmental migration. I hold a M.A. in International Development Studies from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. My academic work includes international human rights and forced migration. During my graduate studies in Australia, I became interested in the topic of environmental migration through the strong advocacy efforts by local Australians in response to the nearby Pacific Islanders’ increasing concern of climate change. In the summer of 2010, I served as an advisor at the International Organization for Migration, Office of the Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York City.

Having ran my own web business in the viral media industry for seven years, my combined passion for website development and humanitarian affairs inspired me to create this social change blog. I view the web as a powerful tool for raising awareness and delivering current information about emerging social issues to the accessible reach of the global audience. This website is a project with the purpose of online advocacy for those who are already, or at risk of being displaced by the adverse effects of climate change. I am hoping to facilitate an open forum to promote dialogue about this issue, at the same time leverage the power of the web as a call to action to address this urgent need.

Please contact me if you have any questions or feedback about the site. We are always looking for new contributors who are involved in the field in any way. All opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and are no way associated with their place of work.

Who are the contributors to this blog?

Kayly Ober
Kayly Ober is a Program Assistant for the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Before joining the Wilson Center, she interned at the World Resources Institute and served as an administrative and Program Assistant at the International Labor Rights Forum. While studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, she assisted newly arrived refugees with the Catholic Church of Santiago, La Vicaria de Pastoral Social y de los Trabajadores. Kayly holds a BA in international studies, with a focus in international development and Latin America, from American University. Her diverse background naturally impelled her to study the effects climate change will have on forced migration.

If you wish to follow a broader set of her writing, she is also a contributor at the New Security Beat, a blog that analyzes how environment, population, and development play a role in conflict and security issues.

Sabrina Karim
Sabrina Karim currently works as the civic engagement organizer for Rights for All People, an immigrant led, community organization in Denver, Colorado. She was a Clarendon Scholar at Oxford University, completing her masters in Forced Migration. She has worked on civic engagement among youth for over five years and has worked at the Institute for the Study of International Migration, the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, and Young Lives. Her research includes the intersection of forced migration/immigration and participation, specifically relating to young people. She holds a B.S. in International Politics (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

In 2009 Sabrina earned a Fulbright Fellowship to study the relationship between climate change and young people’s participation in Lima, Peru. She traveled there in 2010 to research how young people in poorer parts of Lima are coping with environmental changes due to climate change.

She is a regular contributor to Towards Recognition, and authors her own blog, Seeking Asylum from the Mainstream. Please contact her if you have any questions about the intersection between immigration and civic engagement/participation.