Aresio Valiente López, Diwigdi Valiente's father and the environmental lawyer for the Kuna, said that the Kuna are more or less on their own. He has spent the last 15 years working to create laws that protect the environment here and autotomize the Indigenous peoples.In September 2016, Panama ratified the Paris Agreement, the United Nations' climate change treaty that aims to keep temperature rise below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels. The country, which is roughly the size of Los Angeles and home to some 3,700,000 people, established efforts to deal with the effects of climate change in March 2015, reshaping the National Environment Authority into the Ministry of Environment in an effort to give the government greater authority in environmental issues.
"How do you explain to these people that they have to move because of something that they didn't cause?"
"There's not really the same level of protection for people who cross borders as a result of other factors than persecution and war, which are the people who are protected by the refugee convention," said Benjamin Schachter, who serves as the focal point on climate change for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. "Each incremental increase in climate change will be substantial from a human rights perspective."
The UN and other international actors recognize the holes in the refugee laws, with various initiatives and platforms dedicated to studying climate-induced displacement, but there are no immediate solutions.UNHCR, along with the Platform on Disaster Displacement, is currently working on a project to study the gaps in protection when it comes to forced migration from the effects of climate change. Schachter, the UN human rights officer, said that the "scoping study" should be finalized in time to include its findings in the 2018 Global Compact for Migration.
"Each incremental increase in climate change will be substantial from a human rights perspective."