Central America is exposed to a wide variety of natural hazards, including floods, hurricanes, drought, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides, each of which have the potential to trigger population movements. The region has also arguably begun to face negative impacts of climate change, including sea level rise. To date, as in other regions of the world, most displacement in Central America is internal following sudden-onset disasters, with people generally able to return to their homes shortly after the disaster.
Central America Regional Civil Society Meeting
This background paper has been drafted to inform the Nansen Initiative Regional Consultation in Central America, which will be held in San Jose, Costa Rica from 2-4 December 2013 to explore the issue of disasters and cross-border displacement in Central America.
This paper and the consultation itself will discuss Central America’s regional approach for providing protection and assistance to political refugees in the 1980s and 1990s through the Cartagena Declaration and the International Conference on Central American Refugees (Spanish acronym, CIREFCA), since these efforts pursued cross-border and regional cooperation on protection issues. It also recognizes the region’s current efforts to address the protection challenges associated with mixed migration within a general environment of violence and crime, such as through the Regional Conference on Migration.
RECEIVING HAITIAN MIGRANTS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE 2010 EARTHQUAKE
Patricia Weiss Fagen, Georgetown University
Haiti is a vivid case of unmet needs, legal inadequacies and institutional weaknesses on many levels.
Following the Haitian earthquake of 12 January 2010, international presence was vital albeit flawed in ways common in similar situations. The country still is far from having achieved desired levels of recovery and citizen protection. The subject of this essay is the global failure to have anticipated or to adequately address the inevitable flight of the earthquake victims from the densely populated and devastated capital city, Port-au-Prince. International assistance was large – and to a large extent still is – in the locale of the disaster. However, the largely homeless and impoverished people who left Port-au-Prince in the wake of the earthquake received little international protection and assistance.
Nor did their large scale flight receive much in the way of media coverage. The impacts and consequences of the internal and external flight of Haitians out of the ruined city and across the borders have yet to receive warranted attention.
DISASTER RELATED HUMAN MOBILITY WITHIN RELEVANT PACIFIC REGIONAL LAWS, POLICIES AND FRAMEWORKS
A. Gero, Institute for Sustainable Futures,University of Technology, Sydney
As small island states in a vast ocean, Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are highly vulnerable to natural disasters, including extreme weather events, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. There is mounting evidence that climate change is altering the patterns of weather‑related disasters globally, including slow onset events like droughts, sea level rise and rapid onset events like tropical cyclones, flooding and severe storms (IPCC, 2012; IPCC, 2013; Knutson et al., 2010). The direct and indirect impacts of climate change, coupled with ongoing development challenges, are becoming increasingly visible in particular parts of the Pacific region today.
LAND AND HUMAN MOBILITY IN THE PACIFIC: THE EFFECTS OF NATURAL DISASTERS
This report is a further output of the Pacific Regional Consultation. The consultation outcomes identified land issues as a key challenge for measures to address disaster‑related human mobility in the Pacific.
The outcomes document recommended actions to ensure, in circumstances of displacement or relocation:
• adequate mechanisms and/or safeguards to prevent and solve conflicts over land and resources due to factors such as cultural diversity or population growth.
• measures such as land audits, demarcation of uncontested boundaries and community land mapping to facilitate the identification of land.
PACIFIC DIASPORA: MOBILITY, TRANSNATIONALISM, AND IDENTITY OF TUVALU
Based on diverse dynamics of motivations, a large number of the Pacific Islanders have formed diasporic communities in metropolitan countries beyond boundaries. Transnational migration is not a new phenomenon among them as these practices with the continuous flow of remittances have been central to the socioeconomic development of Pacific microstates since the post-colonial era. This paper explores the questions of the impact of transnational migration of the Pacific Islanders and their maintenance of cultural values through their community activities. The findings I present here are based on qualitative analysis of transnational migration among the several Tuvaluan immigrant communities in Auckland, New Zealand. The Pacific diasporic islanders maintain their strong links to their homelands in multiple and complex ways, and the forms of mobility and transnationalism continue to shape their lives.