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Press Release by Co-Chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement on commencement of the Panel’s work

The United Nations Secretary-General established the High-Level Panel (HLP) on Internal Displacement on 23 October 2019 to bring international attention to the continued issue of internal displacement and to provide recommendations for States, the United Nations System, and other stakeholders to achieve durable solutions to it. Amongst other issues, the HLP is tasked with addressing internal displacement in the context of disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. The Panel comprises of eight members with broad geographical and topical expertise, and a four-member Expert Advisory Group supports the Panel in its work. The Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) is proud that the Envoy of the Chair of the PDD, Prof. Walter Kaelin, serves on the Expert Advisory Group in his personal capacity. The PDD is also pleased to be recognized by the Panel as one of the stakeholders to be involved in its consultations and the commitment to strengthen efforts to avert, minimize and address disaster displacement.

The following press release was made by the Co-Chairs of the Panel, Ms Federica Mogherini and Dr Donald Kaberuka, on 18 February 2020:

The Co-Chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, Ms Federica Mogherini and Dr Donald Kaberuka, have announced that the Panel will commence its work at an inaugural meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 25 to 27 February 2020. The meeting will be opened by Secretary-General António Guterres.

Ms. Mogherini stressed the urgency of the situation: “Internal displacement is one of the most dramatic global challenges of our time, with terrible consequences for all those affected. It is urgent to mobilise the maximum level of commitment and action at national, regional and global levels and to develop effective and efficient international coordination to ensure synergies. We will work at proposals to prevent displacement, respond effectively to the critical needs and find solutions especially for those situations which have endured now into several generations.”

The Panel will hand its recommendations to the Secretary-General in 12 months. Acknowledging that this is quite a tight time-frame for an enormous and complex subject, Dr Kaberuka nevertheless stressed that the Panel will have to undertake the broadest consultations possible. “It is ultimately about political commitment especially by national Governments to tackle this problem in all its multifaceted dimensions supported by solid regional and international partnership, solidarity and responsibility sharing. It is also crucial to hear directly from all those who have been impacted by internal displacement, including the internally displaced themselves, so that we are able to grasp properly the priority issues on which to focus our attention.”

Background information

The Panel was established by the Secretary-General in October 2019 against the background of an unrelenting surge in internal displacement globally even as millions remain in limbo in protracted displacement for decades without being able to reach a durable solution. The Secretary-General charged the Panel to draw global attention on the problem and elaborate recommendations to step up more effective responses by States, the United Nations and other stakeholders with emphasis on durable solutions. The inaugural meeting of the Panel will draw out the priority issues for its work, develop the Panel’s work plan, elaborate its working methods and have initial engagement with some key stakeholders.

Ms. Federica Mogherini is the former High-Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission and presently Professor at the College of Europe. Dr Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank and currently Chair of the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The Panel is made up of eight members in all, appointed by the Secretary General in their personal capacities to ensure strong representation from displacement-affected countries and expertise which reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the problem including emergency response, development, peacebuilding and human rights as well as backgrounds in government, international organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector. Other Panel members are Ms. Paula Gaviria Betancur (Colombia), Director-General of Fundación Compaz; Mr. Per Heggenes (Norway), CEO IKEA Foundation; Mr. Nasser Judeh (Jordan), Senator of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Mr. Mitiku Kassa Gutile (Ethiopia), Commissioner for Emergency Response of the Government of Ethiopia; Ms. Pauline Riak (South Sudan), Chair of the Board of Directors at the Sudd Institute and Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Juba; and Ms. Sima Samar (Afghanistan), Special Envoy of the President and State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs in Afghanistan.

An Expert Advisory Group made up some of the most eminent experts on internal displacement has been established to provide substantive guidance to and serve as a sounding board for the Panel and channel to academic knowledge. Its members are Mr. Chaloka Beyani, Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and former Special Representative on the Human Rights of IDPs; Ms. Alexandra Bilak, Director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC); Ms. Elizabeth Ferris, Professor at Georgetown University and former co-Director of the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement; and Mr. Walter Kälin, Professor Emeritus of International Law at the University of Bern, Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, Special Adviser on internal displacement to the RCs/HCs in Ethiopia, Somalia and Ukraine and former Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of IDPs.

The Panel is provided substantive, administrative and logistical support by a Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland.

For further information please contact:

George Okoth-Obbo

ASG/Secretary and Head of Secretariat

UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement

Office # 142

Palais des Nations

8-14, Avenue de la Paix

CH-1211 Geneva 10. Switzerland




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