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Workshop: The Role Of Free Movement Of Persons Agreements In Addressing Disaster Displacement In Africa

Workshop: The role of free movement of persons agreements in addressing disaster displacement in Africa

The Platform on Disaster Displacement organizes, in partnership with the Development and Rule of Law Programme (DROP) at Stellenbosch University, a workshop on the role of free movement of persons agreements in addressing disaster displacement in Africa. The worskhopwill take place in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 27-28 November 2019.

In May 2019, the Platform on Disaster Displacement published a report titled: ‘The Role of Free Movement of Persons Agreements in Addressing Disaster Displacement: A Study of Africa’ (PDD Free Movement study). This report considers whether, and how, agreements for the free movement of persons could assist in addressing the protection gap for disaster displaced persons in Africa, including displacement that occurs in the context of sudden- and slow-onset disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. The PDD Free Movement study concludes that ultimately, the extent to which agreements for the free movement of persons could contribute to addressing displacement in the context of disasters and adverse effects of climate change in Africa depends on how they are incorporated and implemented at the national level, where state practice could either reinforce or address the potential limitations. As such, the report recommends that further research is required in order to fully assess the extent to which agreements for the free movement of persons do, or could, address disaster displacement in Africa. It also suggests the development of recommendations for how African States could further develop or supplement existing free movement agreements to maximise the potential benefits for disaster displaced persons.

Following the conclusions of this study, the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the Stellenbosch University are organising a stakeholder workshop on the role of free movement of persons agreements in addressing disaster displacement in Africa. The key objectives of the stakeholder workshop are:

  1. Explore and evaluate opportunities and limitations that free movement agreements provide for preventing and responding to displacement in the context of disasters and adverse effects of climate change in Africa. Identify and discuss issues that do or could arise in the implementation of free movement agreements.
  1. Identify and evaluate specific strategies or solutions that could enhance the role of free movement agreements in addressing disaster displacement.
  1. Identify key areas where further research and engagement could enhance the role of free movement in addressing disaster displacement. Solicit feedback on the 2019 PDD Free Movement study. Assess and refine the scope and methodology of the follow-up research recommended in the report.

This workshop will bring together policymakers and experts from the Secretariats and Member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Select researchers and resource persons from relevant UN agencies and other partners will also attend. The workshop is generously funded with contributions from the government of Switzerland and  the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).

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