Protection agenda on cross border displacement

In Switzerland 2014 the Nansen Initiative held the Nansen Initiative Consultative Committee meeting to take stock and reflect on the progress of work and discuss the elements of a potential Protection Agenda.

A year later the Nansen Initiative held an identical Consultative Committee meeting during the 16-17 April, 2015 at the Château de Bossey Conference Centre to discuss the initial draft of the Protection Agenda addressing the needs of people displaced across borders in the context of natural disasters and the effects of climate change.

This was developed through the regional Inter-Governmental and Civil Society consultations held in the Pacific, Central America, East Africa, South Asia and South East Asia during the course of 2013-2014. Although cross-border displacement in the context of natural disasters and the effects of climate change remain within their own country, in some regions substantial numbers among the displaced seek protection and assistance abroad.

For the Pacific the impacts of climate change have already begun prompting population movements, however cross-border displacement is not yet a reality. Nevertheless continued rising sea levels, coastal erosion and flooding, among others, place significant pressure on the integrity of territory for Pacific islands and it undermines the development goals of a country, especially the coastline of low-laying atoll islands which may trigger substantial involuntary forced movement of populations to a foreign country.

Photo: Nansen Initiative

The goal of the Nansen Initiative is to build consensus on key principles and elements that protect and assist the needs of a person displaced across borders in the context of disasters and climate change by developing a comprehensive approach and tools that sets out actions at the national, regional and international level from the prevention and preparedness phase before displacement occurs, to the response and search for durable solutions when displacement cannot be avoided.

It aims to complement existing knowledge, principles and practices for protection standards, international cooperation and operational responses. It does not intend to create a new legal standard, instead inspire and make possible the elaboration of standards at the national and regional level.

The meeting brought together over 50 participants with expertise related to migration, refugees, human rights, adaptation and disaster risk reduction from academia, international organisations and non-governmental organisations all of whom are members of the Consultative Committee.

Providing input into the draft Protection Agenda is now underway, should you wish to provide feedback you must do so by 10 July 2015. For more information on this process please email Ewan Cameron, Climate Change Support – Secondment,

For anyone interested in reading more information on the Nansen Initiative and the work the Secretariat and its partners have completed please visit
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