The Government of Mexico with support of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and the IOM is organizing a “Workshop on prevention, assistance and collaboration with migrants in the context of natural disasters" The meeting was approved in the framework of the XXII Vice-Ministerial Meeting of the RCM, held in San Salvador, El Salvador, 29-30 November 2017. The workshop comes at a time of great interest in the topic in the region.
The first training workshop on displacement in the context of disasters, migration and climate change was held 8-9 August 2017 with the support of the Platform for Disaster Displacement (PDD) and IOM, giving response to Decision No. 17 of the Vice-Ministerial Declaration of the XXI RCM, which approved “[…] the implementation of two regional training workshops in 2017 within the framework of the RCM, proposed and financed by the Platform on Disaster Displacement (formerly the Nansen Initiative), as recommended by the RCGM […].”
In addition, during the Fifth Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held in Cancun, Mexico, 22-26 May 2017, the importance of addressing the phenomenon of displacement due to disasters and climate change for the generation of resilience was acknowledged. This topic has been included in the agenda of the VI Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Cartagena, Colombia, June 2018.
Thirty-two officials from ten countries of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) convened in Mexico City to exchange experiences and strategies pertaining to the protection of migrants in the face of natural disasters. The workshop, focusing on the "Prevention and assistance to migrants and people displaced across borders in the context of disasters," was hosted by the Government of Mexico and organized with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), with the financial assistance of the Government of Switzerland and the Government of the United States of America, through the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration.
The workshop was facilitated by IOM experts from the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative and the PDD Coordination Unit, who provided an overview of key issues around migrant protection and cross-border displacement in disaster situations of disasters, and presented some existing guidance and tools to help governments address these issues. Officials from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic participated in the workshop and discussions and shared their own experience and lessons learned from past disasters. The event was timely: it occurred just a few days after the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, following which more than 12,000 people were displaced. The disaster underscored the urgency and relevance of this regional discussion.
At the occasion of the workshop, IOM gave a presentation on a forthcoming regional study, "Inclusion of migrants in risk management in Central America." The study highlights the importance of Mesoamerica as the world’s largest and most diverse migratory corridor, urging leaders and policy-makers in the region to account for migrant populations when formulating risk reduction strategies. It is set to be published by August 2018.
See MICIC’s press release for further information about the workshop.