Disaster and Climate-induced Displacement & Mobility – Challenge of the 21st century

Published Date: 
Monday, September 25, 2017
The German Federal Foreign Office and Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development along with IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) hosted the ninth seminar in the Migration and Development Debate Series in Berlin on August 31st. The seminar, entitled “Disaster and Climate-induced Displacement & Mobility – Challenge of the 21st century”, addressed questions regarding knowledge and data gaps behind the displacement and migration of people in the context of disasters and climate change.

Taking place at the German Federal Foreign Office, keynote speakers Atle Solberg (Head of Coordination Unit, Platform on Disaster Displacement) and Susanne Melde (Senior Analyst, IOM´s GMDAC) provided insights from their work.

Mr Solberg made the distinction between different types of natural disasters while pointing to the gaps in international law to protect the rights of people displaced by such disasters. He concluded that protection gaps may be addressed by strengthening the use of practices that have already proved effective and by promoting policy coherence.

Susanne Melde presented key findings from the MECLEP global research project which highlights the importance of sharing examples of good practices of policies that link migration and the environment, and good practices such as locally-driven and rights-based planned relocations. Ms Melde identified important policy implications that include the need for:

  1. Investing in disaster risk reduction and resilience to prevent environmental displacement;
  2. Integrating migration into urban planning to reduce challenges for migrants and communities of destination; and
  3. Stressing the importance of paying particular attention to gender issues and the needs of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and trapped populations.
Following the presentations, Prof. Felicitas Hillmann (Head of Department, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space) participated in a discussion with the two speakers. The over-arching conclusions were that migration must be understood as a process and that only looking at “push and pull factors” is too simplistic to truly understand and address the issues.