By Dr Tamara Wood, Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW 30 November 2021…
“Collaborative approaches at the regional and local levels are the way forward to address and respond to disaster displacement”, said Prof Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). He was speaking at the third meeting of the Group of Friends of the PDD, which took place virtually on 30 October 2020. The meeting, co-chaired by the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Morocco, put a spotlight on the collaboration and partnership of the PDD with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
France, as Chair of the PDD, emphasized the importance of the Group of Friends as an avenue to raise awareness on disaster displacement and of the importance of global and regional cooperation on the issue across policy areas. At this meeting, the Envoy of the Chair outlined the strategic partnership between the PDD and the two agencies, emphasizing the role of IOM and UNHCR from the inception of the Nansen Initiative, the predecessor of the PDD, through to the present day. He highlighted that the range of partnerships, from global and regional policy development to improving data and knowledge on displacement linked to disasters and the adverse effects of climate change, provides an avenue for state-led leadership across policy areas.
Andrew Harper, Special Advisor on Climate Action and Shahrzad Tadjbakhsh, Deputy Director of the Division of International Protection, UNHCR, highlighted a few priority areas from among the number of activities that UNHCR is engaging in, with IOM and the PDD, in the implementation of the PDD Workplan. Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change and Alice Baillat, PDD Liaison Officer, IOM, presented IOM’s thorough engagement with UNHCR and the PDD across all of the PDD’s strategic objectives.
Both partners then shared updates on the respective strategy development processes currently undertaken by each organization to develop IOM’s Strategy on Migration, Climate Change and the Environment and UNHCR’s Strategic Framework on Climate Action respectively.
The discussion that followed highlighted good practices to address displacement in the context of disasters and climate change specifically for Small Island Developing States and slow-onset events in the Sahel and Horn of Africa regions, and cross-cutting regional partnerships between PDD and the two agencies at the regional and national levels, as well as with other actors including humanitarian and development partners. Operationalization of the strategies and coordination at the local and national levels in accordance with the needs identified by communities and national authorities were emphasized as important next steps for addressing disaster displacement.
This third meeting of the Group of Friends of the PDD gathered over 40 participants from UN Member States and regional organizations through their Geneva-based Permanent Missions. Previous Group of Friends Meetings took place in Geneva in October 2019 and New York in January 2020.
The following States and regional organizations participated in the meeting: Algeria, Australia, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, European Union, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Useful resources highlighted at the meeting:
Fiji Displacement Guidelines in the context of climate change and disasters Available here
Fiji Planned Relocation Guidelines – A framework to undertake climate change related relocation Available here
IOM submission on Internal Displacement in the Context of the Slow-Onset Adverse Effects of Climate Change to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Available here
Nansen Initiative Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change Available here
Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs on internal displacement in the context of the slow-onset adverse effects of climate change Available here
UNHCR Legal considerations regarding claims for international protection made in the context of the adverse effects of climate change and disasters Available here
Vanuatu National Policy on Climate Change and Disaster-Induced Displacement Available here
Words into Action guidelines – Disaster displacement: How to reduce risk, address impacts and strengthen resilience Available here
Read about the Group of Friends in the PDD Strategy 2019-2022
Read the Terms of Reference of the Group of Friends here
Download the Minutes of the Meeting here
Take a look at the presentation from the Envoy of the Chair here
Take a look at the presentation from IOM here
Take a look at the presentation from UNHCR here
Learn more about PDD’s partnership with IOM and UNHCR in our Workplan 2019-2022