Sucre, Bolivia. This week member countries of the South American Conference on Migration (CSM by its name in Spanish) gathered in Sucre, Bolivia, and adopted a non-binding regional instrument on the protection of people displaced across borders and on migrants in countries affected by disasters linked to natural hazards.
The document ‘Lineamientos regionales en materia de protección y asistencia a personas desplazadas a través de fronteras y migrantes en países afectados por desastres de origen natural’ builds on a series of norms, effective practices and policy instruments that countries have implemented in recent years to address cross-border disaster-displacement, including the use of regular and exceptional immigration law on humanitarian grounds, refugee law and other human rights provisions.
Although the guidelines are non-binding, they represent a major breakthrough in terms of regional practice that might inform and orient further development of national policy and normative development, including strengthened contingency measures that can avert and minimize displacement in country of origin, the admission and stay of persons affected by disasters on humanitarian grounds and the inclusion on migrants in disaster risk reduction planning and operational plans.
The document was adopted after a regional workshop held in October 2017 and a follow-up technical meeting in August 2018, both in Santiago, Chile, under the auspices and leadership of the Government of Chile, with the support of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), the International Organization for Migrations (IOM), the Technical Secretariat of CSM (ST-CSM), the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the South American Network on Environmental Migration (RESAMA) and the Refugee Law Initiative. The Government of Germany and Switzerland have generously provided funding.