Conference on Climate Change and Displacement Drafts Guiding Principles

7 June 2011: The Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century drafted a set of principles to guide responses to challenges posed by the impacts of climate change.

Convened at the Høyres Hus in Oslo, Norway, from 6-7 June 2011, the conference was hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the two-day event, participants focused on: sharing experiences on vulnerability, resilience and capacity for adaptation of communities in areas prone to disaster due to climate change, as well as on the protection of displaced people; and promoting action to help prevent or manage displacement. Given recent flooding events in Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, tropical storms in the Philippines, and resulting displacement, the meeting's focus on climate change-induced migration and displacement was considered by many participants to be very timely.

Throughout the conference, participants took part in interactive sessions on: climate change-related drivers of displacement; country case studies covering the geographic and thematic diversity of climate change and displacement; resilience building and climate change adaptation, including disaster risk reduction (DRR), disaster preparedness and early warning; response and protection strategies, including filling the gaps in the protection regime; and adapting humanitarian disaster response to climate-induced displacement.

The conference sought to provide a meeting point between communities that focus on climate change and those that are concerned with humanitarian trends and challenges, and arrived at a set of draft principles to guide responses to challenges posed by the impacts of climate change. Aimed at policy makers, stakeholders and humanitarian actors, the guiding principles are expected to feed into, inter alia, the UN High Commissioner on Refugees' Ministerial meeting to be held in December 2011.

The conference was one of the main events of the Nansen-Amundsen Anniversary 2011, commemorating two anniversaries: 150 years since the birth of Fridtjof Nansen, polar explorer, scientist and diplomat; and 100 years since Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to reach the South Pole. [IISD RS Coverage] [Meeting Website]