On 15 January 2021, the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco to the UN and the EU Delegation to the UN, in their capacity as co-chairs, organized the second meeting of the Group of Friends of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) for Member States in New York – in virtual format this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Group of Friends was established in 2019 to promote outreach to States who are not members of the PDD Steering Group, but are interested in the work of the PDD, and to strengthen State awareness regarding the protection and assistance needs of disaster displaced persons. The Group meets in both New York and Geneva and is open to all Member States of the UN and relevant regional organizations.
This second meeting focused on the linkages between disaster displacement and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Professor Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the PDD, briefly recalled the objectives and the work of the PDD, provided an introduction on disaster displacement and the role DRR plays to prevent and address it, and highlighted the PDD’s strategic partnership with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and DRR actors at the global and regional levels. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of UNDRR, explained how displacement considerations should be integrated into DRR policy and practice, following the commitments of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and particularly in trying to reach Target E – increasing the number of national and local DRR strategies. He stressed the importance of cross-border cooperation, as hazards do not know boundaries. Nina Birkeland, Senior Advisor on Disaster Displacement and Climate Change at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), presented the Words Into Action Guidelines on Integrating Disaster Displacement in DRR Strategies as a tool for implementation and discussed the preliminary work done with pilot countries, including Mozambique and South Africa. The Deputy Permanent Representative from Fiji, Agnes Harm, in Fiji’s capacity as the new Chair of the PDD, also delivered remarks, outlining Fiji’s main priorities for its Chairmanship in promoting the work of the PDD and sharing effective practices from the Pacific on how to address disaster displacement.
The meeting saw a wide representation of States from Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia and the Pacific, expressing great interest and support for promoting the protection of disaster displaced persons and preventing displacement in the context of disasters and adverse effects of climate change, and the implementation of disaster risk reduction strategies. States were particularly interested in the rollout of the e-learning of the Words Into Action Guidelines, expected in the coming months, and stressed the importance of prevention and reduction of disaster displacement.
Following the constructive engagement of States at the meeting, the Group of Friends will continue to meet biannually in both Geneva and New York, with continued involvement in processes and activities addressing disaster displacement throughout the year.
The following States and regional organizations participated in this meeting: Algeria, Angola, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, European Union, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Holy See, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Tuvalu, United States of America, and Zambia.
Read about the Group of Friends in the PDD Strategy 2019-2022
Read the Terms of Reference of the Group of Friends
Download the Minutes of the Meeting
Take a look at the presentation from the Envoy of the Chair
Take a look at the presentation from NRC