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Press Release – Consultation Promoting a Regional Approach to Human Mobility in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change in the Pacific

This press release was originally published on the social media networks of the Fijian Government on 1 December 2022.

Government representatives from the region, experts and representatives from international organisations, regional bodies and national civil society actors are currently meeting in Nadi, Fiji to share lessons learned and effective practices on averting, minimising and addressing displacement in the context of disasters and climate change. At the end of the Regional Consultation, organisers will share key takeaways and recommendations on how to strengthen efforts to address the challenges of displacement, migration and other forms of human mobility in a changing climate.

Pacific island countries are on the front line of climate change. People and communities are affected by the impact of disasters and the adverse effects of climate change, and recent trends and projections point to an increased risk of displacement in the future.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), disasters triggered 13.7 million internal displacements in East Asia and the Pacific in 2021, the highest figure since 2016 and above the annual average for the last decade of 11.6 million. As in previous years, the region accounted for the majority of disaster displacements recorded worldwide. It is home to most of the world’s population, many of whom live in areas prone to a wide range of hazards, including storms, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

In her remarks at the official opening of the Regional Consultation, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Ms Salaseini Daunabuna said while the Pacific was “living” the climate crisis daily, preventing and responding to disaster displacement would require tailored approaches to confront specific challenges that were compounded by the impacts of poverty and inequality, the climate and biodiversity crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In saying this, I wish to emphasise the importance of collaboration to garner greater coherence around our responses to disaster displacement. Internal displacement and planned relocation demand greater resource mobilization, an improved enabling environment through targeted legislation and policies; and strong institutional and governance arrangements. Ensuring that the concerns of the Pacific and best practices are shared with other members states and development partners is important in leveraging the work of countries in this space,“ Ms Daunabuna said.

Fiji became a member of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) – a State-led initiative working towards better protection for people displaced across borders in the context of disasters and climate change – after our leadership at the COP23 meeting in Bonn, Germany and given the importance of global advocacy around climate change induced displacement, migration and planned relocation during that period. Fiji’s involvement is envisioned to ensure voices and the good practices adopted in Fiji and the Pacific around relocation and human mobility are shared at the multilateral discussions in Geneva and New York.

Since assuming leadership last year, Fiji formulated several priorities to implement during its chairmanship and led global advocacy regarding addressing the challenges of disaster displacement and outreach alongside work at the regional and national levels.

The Regional Consultation is being hosted by the Government of Fiji and co-organised with the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and partners of the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) Project. It is generously supported with funding from the European Union and the government of Germany.

The two-day regional consultation opened in Nadi today is also one of the major priorities set out by Fiji when assuming the chairmanship of the PDD.
This week’s regional meet also marks the PDD Chairmanship transition from Fiji to the European Union.
The consultation concludes tomorrow.

Contact Information
Aqela Susu, Senior Media Officer, Email: aqela.susu@govnet.gov.fj/susuaqela@gmail.com
Chirine El Labbane, Communication Officer, Platform on Disaster Displacement, Email: chirinee@unops.org

Read “In the Same Canoe”

Read “15 Observations on Disaster Displacement as Loss and Damage”

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