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Asia Regional Dialogue of the Climate Vulnerable Forum

Ministerial Segment
Statement by Prof. Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement
29 September 2021

Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement, the Government of Fiji, let me thank you for the invitation for the Platform on Disaster Displacement to take the floor in the Ministerial Segment. I deliver this Statement on behalf of the Envoy of the Chair of the PDD, Prof. Walter Kaelin, in my capacity as Head of PDD Secretariat.

The PDD is a State-led initiative focusing on the implementation of the Nansen Initiative Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change. We work towards better protection for people displaced in the context of disasters and climate change as well as more effective prevention of such displacement. We are proud to be a partner of the Climate Vulnerable Forum. We are pleased to engage with Climate Vulnerable Forum countries, particularly today at the Regional Dialogue in Asia.

We are happy to see both the Philippines and Bangladesh, members of our Steering Group, hosting and leading this important event. We are also pleased to see the Maldives, another member of our Steering Group, participating in this event. The PDD has been involved in fostering cooperation among key stakeholders in the region, bringing together partners from Asia and the Pacific for a Regional Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction, Preparedness and Disaster Displacement hosted by the Government of the Philippines in Bohol, the Philippines in 2018, as well as facilitating consultations on the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement. The report of the Secretary-General will be launched in New York later today. We hope that our engagement and partnerships in Asia on activities to improve knowledge on disaster and climate-change related displacement, the sharing of effective practices, and developing effective policy responses will draw attention to the need for bold action on disaster displacement.

We all know that the impacts of climate change, including displacement, are already occurring, and in particular in Asia. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, in 2020 alone, both the Philippines and Bangladesh witnessed approximately 4.4 million new displacements due to disasters, an experience which will resonate with all Climate Vulnerable Forum members represented here today. Furthermore, the World Bank projects that without concrete climate and development action, in South Asia and the East Asia and the Pacific region, climate change could lead to almost 90 million new internal displacements by 2050. To respond to these huge challenges we must use all available policy tools to avert, minimize and address displacement in the context of the adverse effects of climate change.

Therefore, in the lead up to, and during, the forthcoming 26th Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the PDD will be advocating for the need to scale up action and support to avert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change. These measures include: ensuring the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement temperature goal; increasing ambitions in Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans, and stepping up actions to reach the Paris Agreement Global Goal on Adaptation; helping people affected by disasters to move out of harm’s way in safety and with dignity; and addressing the protection and assistance needs of people displaced in the context of the adverse effects of climate change.

At the Conference of the Parties, the Platform on Disaster Displacement will also recommend that Parties:

  1. Recall and reiterate support for implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism Executive Committee 2018 recommendations on integrated approaches to avert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse effects of climate change;
  2. Support operationalization of the Santiago Network for Loss and Damage; and
  3. Increase access to sustainable and predictable climate financing to avert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse effects of climate change.

Ahead of COP26, through these Regional Dialogues, it is timely to launch another joint call for robust and ambitious climate action. We must be ambitious in calling for Parties to catalyze action and support for the countries and communities who are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, cutting across mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage. And finally, it is crucial to systematically and explicitly integrate and mainstream disaster displacement considerations in all aspects of climate action.

We stand ready to support you in our joint efforts. I thank you.


Cover photo: © UNHCR

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