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The European Union, new Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement

The Government of Fiji held its last Steering Group meeting today as Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and handed over to the European Union (EU), with Kenya becoming Vice-Chair.

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“The EU is honoured to assume the Chaipersonship of the Platform on Disaster Displacement,” said Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva during the hand-over ceremony.

The EU must continue advocating for disaster displacement globally. We will make sure that we listen to the affected communities, improve their visibility, and firmly encourage States to adopt an inclusive whole-of-government approach. We hope that our Presidency will help find ambitious solutions and generate political will for a more comprehensive response towards better protection of people displaced in the context of disasters and climate change.

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Fiji as outgoing chair welcomed Argentina as a new member and presented an overview of achievements during the Fijian chairpersonship. Priority areas included global advocacy to highlight the work of the PDD and to keep disaster displacement on the international agenda, for instance by participating in global events such as the IMRF. Regional approaches were advanced in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region and Fiji started working on an inclusive and transparent Strategy Review Process, which will now be completed under EU leadership.

Although major development and humanitarian actors have long sounded the alarm about the impact of disasters and the adverse effects of climate change on human mobility, recent trends and projections are pointing to the continued rise of this phenomenon as a key global concern.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), disasters continued to trigger 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 region. China, the Philippines and India recorded their highest figures in five years at six million, 5.7 million and 4.9 million, respectively.

Over the almost six years that have passed since the establishment of the PDD in 2016, 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.

The EU Chairpersonship of the PDD 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 in order to contribute to achieving the objectives of the PDD.

As the world’s biggest donor of development assistance and a leading humanitarian aid donor, the EU has intensified its efforts in recent years to address the issue of displacement and migration of populations in the context of disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation. The EU is today responding to this challenge from multiple angles. The EU undertakes humanitarian and development actions in affected countries, promotes research and knowledge production activities, and supports relevant international fora and processes.

The state-led Platform on Disaster Displacement works towards better protection for people displaced in the context of disasters and the effects of climate change while building partnerships between policymakers, practitioners and researchers and constituting a multi-stakeholder forum for dialogue and implementation at the regional level. 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. It provides political support and commitment to raise awareness on disaster displacement and to disseminate and implement the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda.

The Steering Group contains 19 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.

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