Geneva, Switzerland, 6 July 2022 – The Government of Fiji held its last Steering Group meeting today as Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and officially handed over the baton of leadership of the PDD to the European Union (EU) to chair until December 2023.
“It has been a great pleasure of ours, working with you all, both at the ambassadorial and technical levels during our tenure as Chair of the PDD. Let me now welcome Ambassador Lotte Knudsen and hand over the Chairmanship of the PDD to the European Union”, declared Fiji’s Ambassador Luke Daunivalu during the ambassadorial level Steering Group meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Fiji took over the Chairmanship of the PDD in January 2021, in the midst of a global pandemic, and highlighted a number of tangible results and outcomes for the PDD during its Chairmanship, including through strong advocacy regarding disaster displacement in international climate change, disaster risk reduction and human mobility and displacement fora. Pacific countries, including Fiji, have also led on national and regional efforts to address the challenges of disaster displacement by developing key policies, strategies and tools to prevent and address disaster displacement.
“I would like to congratulate Fiji for the remarkable work you have done under your Chairmanship of the PDD. You had a remarkable term, with achievements and concrete results,” said the EU Ambassador Lotte Knudsen in her opening speech.
The impacts of disasters and the adverse effects of climate change, including disaster displacement and other forms of human mobility, affect people and communities and recent trends and projections are pointing to increased risk of displacement and other adverse effects of disasters and climate change in the future.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), disasters lead to most internal displacements globally, with 23.7 million recorded in 2021. Weather-related hazards accounted for 94 per cent of the total, many of which were pre-emptive evacuations in the face of cyclones and floods that struck densely populated areas of Asia and the Pacific regions. China, the Philippines and India recorded their highest figures in five years at six million, 5.7 million and 4.9 million, respectively.
The Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) is a State-led initiative working towards better protection for people displaced across borders in the context of disasters and climate change. Over the six years that have passed since the establishment of the PDD in 2016, following up from the Nansen Initiative process and the recommendations of the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda, disasters and climate change have further increased in scale and frequency, forcing ever greater numbers of people to leave their homes every year in various regions of the world.
“We are very committed to the notion of working together to better protect people displaced in the context of disasters and climate change. Our priorities are very much built on what has been achieved by the previous Chair,” said the EU Ambassador.
The EU intends to use its 18-months Chairmanship of the PDD as an opportunity to strengthen coordinated action towards better protection for people displaced in the context of disasters and climate change, as well as to increase global advocacy on this topic, including by supporting and contributing to relevant multilateral partnerships and processes.
The EU Chairmanship will also be marked by the launch of several concrete actions, which will be implemented as part of the European Commission’s humanitarian and development initiatives.
I would like to start by pointing at a best case example, the Kenya national climate change action plan. We believe it is a perfect example of a government that has taken action and leadership from a comprehensive perspective,” declared Ms. Chiara Adamo, Acting Director in Human Development, Migration, Governance and Peace at the European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).
By citing Kenya and Fiji, Ms. Adamo highlighted existing work already taking place to avert, minimize and address disaster displacement and reiterated the importance of working together.
During the meeting, the Government of Kenya was warmly welcomed as the new Vice-Chair, leading the PDD with the EU.
Argentina was also approved as a new Steering Group member. Argentinian Ambassador Federico Villegas emphasized his country’s commitment to the work of the PDD towards better protection for people crossing international borders in the context of disasters and climate change, and highlighted Argentina’s priorities as a new member of the group.
Moreover, Prof. Walter Kaelin was confirmed as Envoy of the Chair under the EU Chairmanship. He introduced the upcoming PDD strategy review process and highlighted the importance of bringing together all the ideas and commitments expressed into a coherent strategy in order to support tangible outcomes.
The Steering Group directs and steers the work of the Platform and related efforts at the global level on the basis of an approved Strategy and Workplan. The Steering Group is comprised of 18 States and the European Union, represented through their Permanent Missions in Geneva. Its composition reflects a wide and balanced geographic representation. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are standing invitees to the Steering Group and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is member ex officio, hosting the PDD Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.