By Dr Tamara Wood, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW 30 November 2021…
Tuesday 23 June 2020, Saint Lucia, Eastern Caribbean – Today, more than 120 border officials from eight Member States of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) successfully concluded an e-learning ‘Capacity building training on cross-border displacement in disaster and climate change scenarios’.
Starting on 9 June 2020, the training rolled out over three weeks covering different topics ranging from basic concepts and definitions around climate migration and disaster displacement, to figures and trends of displacement in the Caribbean, to challenges in managing mixed migration flows at points of entry, to regional free-movement frameworks, to the use of regular and exceptional immigration law to address cross-border displacement, to security strategies and psychological support in disaster scenarios, among others.
The training built on recent experiences of disaster displacement in the Caribbean region, including the 2017 hurricane season and the passing of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, and their impacts on human mobility across most Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean, a region highly vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and the adverse effects of climate change.
Participants included a combination of technical and high-level immigration and border control officers from Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
At the closing session, Mr. Rufus Ferdinand, Deputy Chief Operations Officer of the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM-IMPACS), emphasized the relevance of the training for a region prone and exposed to the impacts of disasters every year, and where the effects of climate change represent a security concern for all countries and territories.
The training was convened by the OECS Commission (Saint Lucia) and was developed in collaboration with the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Other regional agencies, including the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM-IMPACS), the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Regional Security System (RSS), enriched the course with experiences and lessons learned from recent events in the Caribbean.
The e-learning course was developed on the CBSI-connect initiative, which featured a virtual classroom where all registered participants were able to interact, access readings and other materials, as well as complete short tests and exercises developed by the organizers.