Governments meet in Fiji to address displacement caused by disasters and climate change in Pacific island states

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Suva, Fiji, 27 March 2019 - Participants from governments, the European Union (EU), UN agencies and civil society opened a two-day consultation today to address the risk of displacement associated with disasters and climate change in the Pacific island states region.

The meeting is convened by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD); and attended by the governments of nine Pacific island countries (PICs) and territories, the European Union, Australia, France, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United States.

This consultation will inform the design and implementation of a project funded by the EU. It aims to enhance national and regional policies, operational capacities and the knowledge needed to prevent and respond to the risk of displacement in the Pacific island developing states.

Speaking at the opening of the consultation, the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner, said: ''The new project will support Pacific governments in building capacity to understand, prepare and respond to disaster-related human mobility. The EU is pleased to support these three highly recognised organisations in this joint action, for the benefit of Pacific communities and victims of forced displacement.”

Director of IDMC, Alexandra Bilak, added: “Displacement related to disasters represents one of the biggest humanitarian challenges we face. Each year, approximately twice as many people are displaced by disasters than by conflict. And when we account for the size of countries’ populations, the data and evidence reveal that inhabitants of small island states in the Pacific are among the most at risk of becoming displaced by disasters.”

The project will strengthen other ongoing programmes and efforts to protect and empower migrants and communities affected by climate change and disasters in the Pacific region; including the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, the Pacific Resilience Programme and a German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)-led project addressing human mobility in the context of climate change.

“State engagement and peer learning is key to the success of these efforts,” said Pär Liljert, IOM’s Chief of Mission for Australia and Coordinator for the Pacific. “We, therefore, welcome the participation and leadership of so many governments in this EU-funded project.”

Professor Walter Kaelin, Envoy of the Chair of the PDD, highlighted that the project will support implementation of global commitments to address disaster displacement, such as those contained in the Global Compact for Migration and in the recommendations of the Task Force on Displacement. He added: “Now has come the time to implement these commitments, to move from words into action.”

Notes to editors:
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is the world's authoritative source of data and analysis on internal displacement. Since its establishment in 1998 as part of the Norwegian Refugee Council, IDMC has delivered on an internationally-endorsed mandate to provide a rigorous, independent and trusted service to the international community.

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