Sixth Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Platform on Disaster Displacement
17 November 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 sixth meeting of the Group of Friends of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) for Member States in New York. The meeting took place in virtual format in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting provided an opportunity to update the Group of Friends regarding global policy processes and outcomes relating to disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change and human mobility. The meeting was timely, following the end of COP26 in Glasgow (1-12 November), the conclusion of two Regional Platforms for DRR, in the Americas and the Caribbean (1-4 November) and in the Arab States (8-11 November), as well as the ongoing African Regional Platform for DRR (16-19 November) and the upcoming European Forum for DRR (24-26 November). Furthermore, participants were able to hear reflections on the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, which was published in September 2021.
Mr. Abdallah Nassif, Governor of Disaster Risk Management at the Interior Ministry of Morocco, Mr. José Oliveira, National Director for Risk Prevention and Management, Portugal, and Mr. Kurt Davis, Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations in New York, shared overviews of the Regional Platforms for DRR, highlighting the inclusion of disaster displacement in the proceedings and the outcome documents, and drawing attention to relevant sessions and events.
The relevance of climate science for policies relating to disaster displacement was introduced by Mr. Abdalah Mokssit, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who stressed that the IPCC sees a need for an increased focus on evidence-based risk management in the face of increasing extreme weather events. Ms. Kanta Kumari Rigaud, Lead Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, followed with a summary of the World Bank report “Groundswell Part II : Acting on Internal Climate Migration”, in which the World Bank views climate-driven internal migration as a reality requiring advanced planning and early action to mitigate and address the associated challenges. Mr. Atle Solberg, Head of the Secretariat of the PDD, concluded the segment by providing short reflections from the PDD’s engagement at COP26, and highlighting potential future areas of related work.
Professor Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the PDD, presented reflections on the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, entitled “Shining a Light on Internal Displacement: A Vision for the Future”, and in particular its emphasis on the need to focus on solutions, and for greater engagement of development actors. He also explained how the recommendations of the report would be taken forward, and PDD’s readiness to engage in the relevant processes. In concluding the meeting, Professor Kaelin briefly noted other key elements of the work of the PDD, including the planning for its next phase after the end of the current Strategic Framework (June 2022), and the recent launch of a joint project between the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the PDD, at COP26. The project, entitled “Action and support to avert, minimize and address displacement related to the adverse effects of climate change”, will make important contributions to the work of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage and its Task Force on Displacement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
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 Group of Friends was established in 2019 to provide a platform for 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 persons displaced in the context of disasters and climate change. The Group meets in New York and Geneva and is open to all Member States of the UN and relevant regional organizations.
The following States and regional organizations participated in this meeting: Austria, Canada, Denmark, European Union, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Jamaica, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, and Switzerland. IOM, OCHA and UNDRR were present as well.