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The Regional Conference on Migration in the Americas Deepens Exchanges and Cooperation on Disaster Displacement

Panama City, Panama, 26-27 April 2023 – Governments representatives from the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) gathered in Panama for a workshop on “Human Mobility in the Context of Disasters, Environmental Degradation and Climate Change,” aiming to continue the dialogue and exchange of practices on how to address disaster displacement in the region. 

The Americas are particularly exposed and vulnerable to disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC),   the Americas recorded 2.1 million internal displacements in 2022. Storms alone triggered nearly 1.2 million displacements across the region, and floods nearly half that figure. Most storm displacements happened during the Atlantic hurricane season in the Caribbean basin.

This workshop, hosted by the Government of Panama, 2023 RCM Chair, sought to open a dialogue and reinforce the inclusion of human mobility in the context of the adverse effects of climate change. The meeting built on shared challenges and progress made by Member States in the region.

“It is essential to continue the dialogue, improve regional cooperation and consider an update in terms of relevant practices and challenges associated with human mobility in the context of disasters, climate change and environmental degradation. It is necessary to develop harmonization of practice and regulations to generate synergies of protection and assistance to affected vulnerable people,” said the Programme Coordinator at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mr. Andrea Dabizzi.

Governments’ delegates from Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction agencies, Foreign Affairs departments, and Immigration offices from Central and North America as well as from the Dominican Republic provided inputs for the RCM 2023-2026 Strategic Plan which promotes human mobility, climate change and disasters under the migration governance pillar:

”…Effective systems for responding to migration emergencies or crises, including those caused by climate change […] Preparedness, protection, assistance, and irregular migration: Attention to migrant population in crisis due to disasters and other situations of vulnerability, including climate change…”

Following the workshop, Member States decided to update the “Guide to Effective Practices for RCM Member Countries: Protection for Persons Moving Across Borders in the Context of Disasters adopted at the 2016 XXI Regional Conference, and to foster continued discussion on the issue of human mobility in the context of disaster and climate change within existing regulations.

The Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), also known as the “Puebla Process”, is a multilateral mechanism established in February 1996 as a result of the Tuxtla II Presidential Summit. It aims to coordinate migration policies and actions in all eleven Member States: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the United States. Its primary objectives are to exchange information, experiences and best practices, as well as promote regional cooperation on migration. The “Guide to Effective Practices for RCM Member Countries: Protection for Persons Moving Across Borders in the Context of Disasters was considered a good migration management practice’ during the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) in 2022.

The event was organized by the RCM Executive Secretariat, the PDD Secretariat, and IOM.

What is the Guide to Effective Practices for the Protection of Persons Moving Across Borders During Disasters?


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