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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 Consultation

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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.

More than 100 Participants from Central American countries, Mexico, Colombia, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, representatives from the Nansen Initiative, as well as representatives from regional and international organizations, civil society, and research institutions, met in San Jose, Costa Rica from 2-4 December 2013 for the second Nansen Initiative Consultation on “Disasters and Cross-Border Displacement in Central America: Emerging Needs, New Responses.” The majority of participants recognized cross-border displacement in the context of disasters as a very important issue for the region.  They welcomed the Nansen Initiative, which is a state-led, bottom-up consultative process intended to build consensus on a protection agenda addressing the needs of people displaced across international borders in the context of natural disasters, as well as the effects of climate change.

The overall objective of the Central American Consultation was to identify specific challenges facing the Central American region related to cross-border displacement and disasters caused by natural hazards, and to develop concrete, practical, policy and programmatic outcomes in response to these challenges. The consultation brought together more than 100 representatives from seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama), countries beyond the region (Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States), international organizations, international experts, NGOs, civil society and faith-based organizations.

Conclusions from the consultation took the form of an outcome document, which was presented to the Government of Costa Rica by a drafting committee, comprised of delegates from each State as well as representatives from civil society and academia, on the last day of the Consultation. The outcome document contains conclusions and recommendations that require action within five technical areas (Chapter II.2). A summary of the panel discussion can be found in Chapter II.3. Participants at the workshop expressed their commitment to bringing the outcomes of the Regional Consultation to a political level in order to enhance national, regional and international efforts to address the needs and challenges associated with cross-border displacement in the context of natural hazards, as well as the effects of climate change.

HUMAN MOBILITY IN THE CONTEXT OF NATURAL HAZARD‑RELATED DISASTERS IN SOUTH AMERICA

Nicolás Rodríguez Serna

This study undertakes a review of existing law, policy and practice on the humanitarian protection of aliens on a temporary basis in times of disaster by States of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) – Belize, Canada. Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States of America (USA) – as well as selected countries from South America. It has been commissioned by the Nansen Initiative as a background paper to inform the Regional Workshop on Temporary Protection Status and/or Humanitarian Visas in Situations of Disaster that will take place in February 2015 in Costa Rica.

LAW, POLICY AND PRACTICE CONCERNING THE HUMANITARIAN PROTECTION OF ALIENS ON A TEMPORARY BASIS IN THE CONTEXT OF DISASTERS

Dr. David James Cantor

This study undertakes a review of existing law, policy and practice on the humanitarian protection of aliens on a temporary basis in times of disaster by States of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) – Belize, Canada. Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States of America (USA) – as well as selected countries from South America. It has been commissioned by the Nansen Initiative as a background paper to inform the Regional Workshop on Temporary Protection Status and/or Humanitarian Visas in Situations of Disaster that will take place in February 2015 in Costa Rica.

LEYES, POLÍTICAS Y PRÁCTICAS EN MATERIA DE PROTECCIÓN TEMPORAL HUMANITARIA DE EXTRANJEROS EN EL CONTEXTO DE DESASTRES

Dr. David James Cantor

En este estudio se realiza una revisión de las leyes, políticas y prácticas en materia de protección temporal humanitaria de extranjeros en el contexto de desastres que existen en los Estados de la Conferencia Regional sobre Migración (CRM) – Belice, Canadá, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Estados Unidos, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá y la República Dominicana – y algunos países sudamericanos. El estudio fue encargado por la Iniciativa Nansen como documento de antecedentes, para servir de base al “Taller regional sobre protección temporal y/o visas humanitarias en situaciones de desastres” que se llevará a cabo en Costa Rica en febrero de 2015.

CLIMATE INDUCED MIGRATION AND DISPLACEMENT IN MESOAMERICA

Report prepared by Fanny Delavelle
London School of Economics and Sciences Po Paris

As environmental degradation induced by natural disasters has become more frequent in the last decades, the impact of environmental changes on migration has created new, unprecedented challenges. Compared with other natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, climate-related events caused the most displacement in 2010, forcing 38 million people to move (IDMC, 2012). Migration is a strategy used to adjust to changing environments (Haque, 2010). Most scholars acknowledge a spectrum between voluntary and involuntary movement, given multiple factors influencing movement (Hugo, 1996). In this article, we consider that in general environmental migration refers to a primarily voluntary movement in which the decision-making process is subjected to various factors – including non-environmental ones-, while displacement is largely forced or involuntary, with environmental constraints acting as primary factors.

RECEIVING HAITIAN MIGRANTS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE 2010 EARTHQUAKE

Patricia Weiss Fagen
Georgetown University, 3 December 2013

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.

Photos of the Consultation
See also
Central America Civil Society Meeting

Central America Civil Society Meeting

Related Links
Video Summary of the Consultation
Global

Global

Pacific

Pacific

Central America

Central America

Greater Horn Of Africa

Greater Horn Of Africa

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia

South Asia

South Asia