UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Nansen Initiative and the development of an international protection norm for cross-border disaster-displaced persons Okeowo, Ademola Oladimeji


Using the Nansen Initiative on Disaster-Induced Cross-Border Displacement (the “Nansen Initiative”) as a case study, this dissertation applies a synthesis of the theories of international norm development to the decades of international efforts for the recognition and protection of cross-border disaster-displaced persons leading to the establishment of the Nansen Initiative in 2012. The dissertation examines the range of guideposts in the international norms literature for identifying a successful new norm. Relying on judicial precedents and some notable literature on international norms, this dissertation argues that there are diverse forms of contemporary international law. Thus, the dissertation concludes that the Protection Agenda, which is the final product of the work of the Nansen Initiative, is a normative soft law instrument. The dissertation further examines international norm compliance theories as they might relate to states’ disposition towards the Protection Agenda. Based on the endorsement of the Protection Agenda by 109 states in Geneva in 2015, the calibre of states that made the endorsement, and the enthusiasm with which they did so, the dissertation argues that states are likely to implement it. This is so, given that the establishment of the Platform on Disaster Displacement as a post-Nansen Initiative process for the Agenda’s dissemination, interpretation and implementation purposes is a core requirement in the literature for achieving international norm compliance.

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