Nansen Initiative South Asia Civil Society Meeting: Climate Change, Disasters and Human Mobility in South Asia

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Background

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and the Nansen Initiative are jointly organizing the Nansen Initiative Civil Society Meeting on ‘Climate Change, Disasters and Human Mobility in South Asia’ from 2—3 February 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The Nansen Initiative is a state-led, bottom-up consultative process intended to build consensus on the development of a protection agenda that addresses the needs of people displaced across international borders in the context of drought, flooding and other natural hazards, including those linked to the effects of climate change. The Steering Group of the Nansen Initiative is composed of the following states: Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, and co-chaired by Norway and Switzerland. To ensure that the Nansen Initiative is guided by practical experiences, inter-governmental regional consultations and civil society meetings are taking place in the Asia-Pacific, Central America, the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia during the period 2013—2015. 

The South Asia Civil Society Meeting and Regional Consultation will bring together relevant stakeholders from source and destination countries of migration and displacement, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The results of the meetings will be consolidated and discussed at a global inter-governmental consultation in October 2015. The Nansen Initiative does not seek to develop new legal standards, but rather to discuss and build consensus among states on the potential elements of a protection agenda, which may include standards of treatment. Its outcomes may be taken up at the domestic, regional and global levels and lead to new laws, soft law instruments or binding agreements.


Objectives

The meeting aims to explore the issue of human mobility in the context of disasters and climate change in the region. The meeting will provide an opportunity:

  1. To develop a better understanding of human mobility and displacement dynamics linked to natural hazards in South Asia;

  2. To identify good practices at the regional, national and community levels in establishing mechanisms for climate change adaptation, disaster preparedness, building resilience, and responding to and managing displacement risks; 

  3. To identify key protection-related concerns of people who have been displaced or are moving in the context of disaster, and assess the relevance and appropriateness of existing policies, strategies and normative frameworks;

  4. To draft key messages and provide input for the Nansen Initiative’s inter-governmental regional consultation for South Asia, which is to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 5 - 7 April 2015.

The Civil Society Meeting will provide an opportunity for participants to share relevant experiences, discuss challenges and identify good practices related to human mobility in the context of natural hazards and climate change. The meeting will take the form of a two-day workshop with plenary discussions, presentations, and working groups. Participants will include 30—50 representatives from civil society organizations, affected communities, and academic institutions in the eight SAARC countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka—that work closely with affected communities on issues linked to human mobility, natural hazards and climate change in the region. Representatives from a few international organizations and international experts will also among the participants.

The Nansen Initiative is primarily funded by the governments of Norway and Switzerland. The Initiative also benefits from generous funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.