Climate Change, Disaster Displacement and Environmental Migration High on OECS-IOM Workshop Agenda

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

A two-day workshop kicked off this morning in Saint Lucia to discuss policy recommendations built on the human security framework, one day after the IPCC released an alarming report regarding the state of climate change.

The workshop brought together technical officers in the fields of disaster management, immigration, regional integration, environment, climate change, and more, as well as representatives of national Red Cross Societies, to identify best-practices, and work towards improving and coordinating the responses of member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to disaster displacement and environmental migration.

In the face of climate change and recent experiences (2017 hurricane season and 2021 volcanic eruptions), that threaten the human security of people in the region, governments in the OECS have seen the need to assess policies to better manage the complex effects of displacement and migration due to environmental factors and climate impacts, including to ensure regional coordination in the event of cross-border evacuations. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is supporting this coordinated effort with resources from the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS).

The human security approach recognizes that when people are displaced because of climate impacts, or disasters that affect their environment, they can become exposed to a complex combination of risks and increased insecurities. Comprehensive, people-centred and prevention-oriented policies that consider the specific contexts of displacement can help OECS Member States to protect and empower their populations.

The workshop will focus on discussing the draft best practices in the eastern Caribbean on the protection of persons crossing borders in the context of disasters, environmental degradation and climate change, and importantly the protocols on cross-border evacuation in the OECS region that will be tested by a tabletop exercise. It is expected that the guiding documents will be finalized and ready for application by relevant sectors of government in the OECS and other regions, as this project seeks to deepen the collaboration and sharing of knowledge between SIDS in the Caribbean and other regions including the Pacific.

The 21-22 March 2023 workshop will be hosted by the IOM in partnership with the donor – UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). Other contributing stakeholders include the OECS Commission, the UN Resident Coordinator Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Platform for Disaster Displacement (PDD).

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