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Disasters, Climate Change and Displacement: Regional dynamics of human mobility in West Africa

Bonn, Germany, 4 June 2014 – Side Event: Disasters, Climate Change and Displacement: Regional dynamics of human mobility in West Africa Side Event The Governments of Norway and Switzerland, as the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative, and the Government of Germany, as a member of the Nansen Initiative Steering Group, have the pleasure of organizing a consultation dedicated to discussing “Disasters, Climate Change and Displacement: Regional dynamics of human mobility in West Africa.” The event was held in French with a light lunch provided. Objectives The consultation stimulated a discussion on the regional dynamics of human mobility in the context of disasters linked to natural hazards and the effects of climate change in West Africa. It discussed the key challenges West African countries face with regard to migration, displacement and planned relocation in the context of climate change and other natural hazards, and explored the potential for cooperative measures to reinforce the protection of displaced people and migrants in the region. The consultation also intended to  inform regional policymakers in West Africa and other interested stakeholders about the Swiss and Norwegian-led Nansen Initiative on cross-border displacement in the context of disasters, its progress and prospects. Topics that were discussed at the consultation include:

  • The protection needs and challenges for displaced persons and migrants in the context of disasters and climate change in West Africa;
  • The specific challenges for those displaced across international borders, including outside of the West African region, in the context of drought and other natural hazards;
  • The challenges linked to the urban adaptation of migrants in light of demographic changes;
  • The role of ECOWAS as a platform for regional cooperation on human mobility in the context of climate change, highlighting the example of facilitating pastoralist mobility to adapt to environmental stress;
  • The position of West African countries in the UNFCCC negotiations with regard to migration, displacement and planned relocation in the context of climate change, with particular

attention to integrating human mobility issues within National Adaptation Plans. Format The consultation took the form of panel presentations followed by an open discussion between the panel members and all invited guests. The panel included a Representative from the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative, a Representative from the Government of Germany, a Representative from ECOWAS, the Envoy of the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative, and two Representatives from West African States. The event was moderated by Prof. François Gemenne, a professor at the University of Liège and Sciences Po, and a member of the Nansen Initiative Consultative Committee. The consultation ended with a summary of main conclusions and recommendations for further action and follow up. Sponsors and Collaborators The consultation was generously funded by the Government of Germany. It was organized in closecooperation with Sciences Po, the University of Liège, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, and the Nansen Initiative Secretariat.


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