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France takes over the Chairmanship of the Platform on Disaster Displacement

Geneva, Switzerland, 1 July 2019 – The Government of Bangladesh held its last Steering Group meeting as Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and passed on the baton to its Vice-Chair, the Government of France, to lead PDD until December 2020.

“The Platform on Disaster Displacement works towards fixing one of the most important crisis we will face in the years to come:  a crisis about millions of people forced to flee their homes and lands because of floods, storms, droughts or other natural hazards,” said the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France in Geneva Mr. François Rivasseau.

In 2018, disasters linked to natural hazards forced 17.2 million people to leave their homes. With climate change, these numbers are expected to increase and lead to more displacement. Large-scale displacement has devastating effects on people and communities as it creates complex humanitarian and development challenges that call for urgent action and partnerships beyond traditional silos.

“This Platform seeks to convince international organizations, States, NGOs and civil society that we need to tackle this crisis urgently. Today’s generation is expecting us to show the way, to identify the problems and provide them with the tools to fix it,” the Ambassador added.

The State-led Platform on Disaster Displacement, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, continues the work of the its predecessor – the Swiss and Norwegian led Nansen Initiative – by bringing together a group of States committed to support the implementation of the Protection Agenda. The Protection Agenda offers States a toolbox to better prevent and prepare for displacement before a disaster strikes. When displacement cannot be avoided, it helps States improve their responses to situations when people are forced to find refuge, either within their own country or across a border.

“Today is a really important day for the Platform. The new three-year strategy has just been adopted and we have a new Chair, France! We will be able to strengthen our efforts to get progress at the global, regional and local levels to help people who are at risk of being displaced by disasters and climate change and also protect people who had to flee,” declared Prof. Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair, in an interview.

This ambassadorial level Steering Group meeting included the participation of representatives of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Costa Rica, European Union, France, Germany, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, the Philippines, Senegal and Switzerland. For the Standing Invitees, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) were also represented, along with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) who host the Platform’s Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

The objective of the Steering Group is, under the leadership of its Chair and Vice-Chair, to direct and steer the work of the Platform and related efforts at the national, regional and global level based on an approved Strategy and Workplan.

WATCH - Message from the French Ambassador and the Envoy of the Chair

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