On 4 March 2013, the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) hosted a lecture by Prof. Walter Kälin, Envoy of the Chairmanship of the Nansen Initiative. The topic of Prof. Kälin’s lecture was the plight of people displaced across borders in the context of natural disasters.
The lecture was attended by scholars and experts from a number of institutions concerned with the issue of natural disaster-induced displacement, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Bonn University, Osnabrück University, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
In her introductory remarks, Dr. Koko Warner, Head of the Environmental Migration, Social Vulnerability and Adaptation section of UNU-EHS, described UNU-EHS research on environmentally-induced migration, including the EACH-FOR (Environmental Change & Forced Migration Scenarios) project, the Human Mobility in the Horn of Africa project in collaboration with UNHCR, and the Where the Rain Falls project in collaboration with CARE.
The event explored the need for international cooperation and standards to address cross-border displacement.
The central example introduced by Professor Kälin was the Nansen Initiative, launched by Norway and Switzerland in October 2012. The Nansen Initiative aims to build consensus among interested states on how best to address cross-border displacement in the context of both sudden- and slow-onset disasters, and on what needs to be done in terms of developing potential standards, building international solidarity and ensuring effective operational responses.
For a full review of the event, see the UNU-EHS website.