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Press Release – EU-funded collaboration in the Pacific supports local efforts to reduce the risk and impact of disaster displacement

Nadi, Fiji, 2 December 2022 – Government representatives from across the Pacific gathered in Fiji this week to conclude the Pacific Response to Disaster Displacement (PRDD), a two-year project aiming to improve planning, policies and operational tools to address displacement in a changing climate.

Pacific island states are on the frontline of the climate emergency and bear the greatest displacement risk relative to their population size. Nearly one million forced movements were recorded in the Pacific between 2010-2021, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, more than half of which were caused by tropical storms.

“Now, more than ever, preventing and responding to disaster displacement will need a tailored approach alongside a common regional approach,” said Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Ms. Salaseini Daunabuna. “I emphasise the importance of collaboration to garner greater coherence around our responses to disaster displacement.”

Implemented by IDMC, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and the Pacific Community (SPC), the PRDD project has helped to improve regional data on the issue, strengthen evidence-based policy, and develop risk modelling tools.

“Data on mobility, particularly displacement data remains challenging in the Pacific,” remarked IOM’s Chief of Mission in Fiji, Mr. Solomon Kantha, “the PRDD project supported project countries to build their capacity to use tools such as the Displacement Tracking Matrix to improve data collection on displacement.” Capacity-building workshops and technical trainings conducted under the PRDD project also helped Pacific governments to engage more meaningfully in regional and global consultations.

“The PRDD project applied a regional approach that could go beyond national borders and create cross-country synergies,” said representative from the European Union, Mr. Francesco Ponzoni. “It can and must serve as a vector for greater awareness and commitment of all the actors involved in the Pacific.”

The project was brought to a close alongside experts from international organisations, regional bodies and national civil society at a Pacific regional consultation. The event marked the handover of the Chairmanship of the PDD – a State-led initiative working towards better protection for people displaced by disasters and climate change – from Fiji to the European Union.

“In spite of the challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to make good progress under Fiji’s Chairmanship in advocating for the prevention of disaster displacement across important policy areas, including climate change and disaster risk-reduction,” said Professor Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the PDD.

IDMC’s Head of Programmes, Ms. Christelle Cazabat, added: “Today we closed the Pacific Response to Disaster Displacement project, but this is not the end of our engagement with governments and partners in the Pacific, only the end of the beginning!”

Contact Information

Dawn Vout, Head of External Relations, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Email: dawn.vout@idmc.ch
Chirine El Labbane, Communication Officer, Platform on Disaster Displacement, Email: chirinee@unops.org

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