The Nansen Initiative, a high-level intergovernmental meeting which unites ministers and senior civil servants from more than 75 countries to discuss resolutions for today’s disaster displacement and prepare for new challenges in the coming years, holds its Global Consultation on October 12-13, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. The initiative has seven other members, including the Philippines, along with Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Kenya and Mexico. There are 80 Consultative Committee Members composes of researchers, NGOs, and international and regional organizations.

Millions of people are being displaced every year due to natural disasters like tropical cyclones, flooding, landslides, drought and earthquakes. Experts claim that this could rise in the future because of climate change and population growth. Disaster displacement is now being recognized as one the main humanitarian challenges.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) enumerates 10 challenges that are related to climate and disaster displacement. These include the following:

1. We must recognize the facts.
2. We must recognize that people rarely flee for just one reason.
3. We must find out who are the displaced.
4. We must prevent displacement.

5. We must compile better data and analyse risks.
6. We must prevent people from becoming poorer.
7. We must ensure formal protection.
8. We must ensure protection in practice.
9. We must commit.
10. We must work together.

NRC also defines the drivers of displacement as population growth in hazard-prone areas, rapid or unplanned urbanization, unequal distribution of wealth, poor government or state and climate change.

During the previous consultations, key persons working on issues relating to humanitarian action, human rights protection, migration management, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, refugee protection and development were brought together to share practical experiences. The intergovernmental global consultation also aims to to build consensus on principles and elements for addressing the necessities of the displaced people affected by disasters and effects of climate change.

This year, the event takes place at the Starling Hotel and Conference Center in Geneva, hosted by the Government of Switzerland and is co-organized with the Government of Norway.

Nansen Initiative
Norwegian Refugee Council