The Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction calls for reducing disaster displacement risk

Author: Daria Mokhnacheva 

The Sixth Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) took place in Geneva, Switzerland on 13-17 May 2019, bringing together around 4000 disaster risk reduction experts and stakeholders from 182 countries to share their experiences and knowledge and to review progress made towards reducing disaster risk worldwide.

Disaster displacement was high on the agenda with a dedicated working session on disaster displacement and disaster risk reduction, and numerous side events and awareness raising efforts led by actors engaging in displacement and migration management, such as IOM, NRC/IDMC, the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), UNHCR and many others. The striking figures of disaster displacement (17.2 million people newly displaced by disasters in 2018, according to the IDMC) were repeatedly cited by speakers at GP2019 high-level panels throughout the week.

With the fast approaching deadline for achieving Target (e) of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction to substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020, and with new evidence of increasingly complex, ever-growing risks threatening our very survival, a sense of urgency pervaded the discussions. The importance of accelerated, innovative, collective action breaking away from traditional fragmented governance approaches to disasters, climate change and sustainable development was highlighted throughout the high level dialogues, working sessions and side events.

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR19) launched at the GP2019 warns about fast changing risks in an increasingly interconnected world, with cascading impacts of disasters, climate change and biodiversity loss undermining the well-being and development of society in the long run. The report also discusses the impacts of disasters on displacement, as well as the role of displacement in exacerbating vulnerabilities, including in urban settings. It notes that despite an increased recognition in global policy frameworks of displacement as a driver of risk, but also of the role of migration in strengthening resilience, action to prevent and address displacement and to strengthen resilience has been insufficient.

In that regard, the call made in the GP2019 Co-Chairs’ Summary for governments and the international community to reduce the risk of disaster displacement, including by considering displacement drivers and consequences in national disaster risk reduction strategies and policies, is most welcome.

Guidance and tools already exist to support governments in such efforts, such as the Words into Action guidelines on Disaster Displacement launched at the GP2019, a joint product of UNDRR and NRC with the Germany Federal Foreign Office, the PDD, IDMC, IOM and UNHCR.  

As 2020 is fast approaching, and 2030 is not that far away, it is time to accelerate action, allocate adequate resources, and set up monitoring and reporting modalities to promote efforts to prevent and address disaster displacement.

Read IOM’s official statement to the GP2019 and press release.

Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM, Micronesia
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