The Greater Horn of Africa experiences a wide range of natural hazards, most commonly severe droughts and floods, but also landslides, dust storms, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. The effects of climate change are expected to lead to sea level rise, desertification, and increased rainfall variability. While such hazards drive internal and cross-border displacement in the Horn of Africa, in many circumstances these movements occur within a complex environment impacted by poverty, conflict, generalized violence, and governance challenges.
For example, the 2011-2012 Horn of Africa drought crisis affected an estimated 13 million people,2 prompting millions of people to move within their own countries in search of food, water, shelter, and other forms of humanitarian assistance, while hundreds of thousands of other people primarily from Somalia sought refuge across international borders.3 Pastoralists also moved internally and abroad to access water and grazing grounds, a traditional practice to adapt to changing environmental conditions, with some ultimately becoming displaced. Yet, the displaced people and migrants moving in the context of the drought and famine faced numerous protection challenges compounded by the ongoing conflict in Somalia, cattle rustling, inter-communal conflict, smuggling, small arms trafficking and organized crime as they moved within the region or to the Middle East, Southern Africa, Europe and beyond.
Greater Horn of Africa Regional Consultation
This background paper informs the Nansen Initiative Greater Horn of Africa Regional Consultation, held in Nairobi, Kenya from 21-23 May 2014. Launched by the Governments of Norway and Switzerland in October 2012, the Nansen Initiative is a state-led, bottom-up consultative process intended to build consensus on the development of a protection agenda addressing the needs of people displaced across international borders in the context of natural hazards, including those linked to the effects of climate change.
To build consensus on the protection agenda, the Nansen Initiative is in the process of undertaking five Regional Consultations in the Pacific, Central America, the Greater Horn of Africa, South-East Asia, and South Asia over the course of 2013 and 2014. The first two Regional Consultations took place in Rarotonga, Cook Islands and San José, Costa Rica in May and December 2013, respectively. The Nansen Initiative is also hosting regional meetings with civil society representatives in these same five regions. The Horn of Africa civil society meeting entitled, “Natural Hazards, Climate Change and Cross-Border Displacement: Protecting People on the Move” took place on 3-4 March 2014 in Nairobi. Outcome documents from all of the regional consultations contain recommendations for further action at the community, national, regional and international levels.
More than 70 participants representing governments of six countries from the Greater Horn of Africa Region, Tanzania and Yemen, representatives from the Nansen Initiative and its Chairmanship, as
well as representatives from regional and international organizations, UN Agencies, civil society and research institutions, met in Nairobi, Kenya from 21-23 May 2014 for the third Nansen Initiative Regional Consultation on “Natural Hazards, Climate Change, and Cross-Border Displacement in the Greater Horn of Africa: Protecting people on the move,” which was held at the Boma Nairobi hotel. The participants expressed their thanks and appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Kenya for hosting this important consultation.
Participants recognized that the Greater Horn of Africa is not only affected by conflict and terrorism but is also vulnerable to the effects of climate change. They noted that the increased frequency and intensity of
weather events, primarily droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones, are expected to lead to increased water stress, higher temperatures, desertification, decreased agricultural production, increased human and livestock diseases, livestock loss, and famine while sinking ground water levels and sea level rise cause salinization of land and water source and may pose threats to seaside settlements. Consequently, they recognized that the number of displaced people is likely to increase, with climate
change also exacerbating the potential for conflict associated with weakened resilience to natural hazards and competition over scarce resources such as water and grazing areas.
Participants recognized that the Greater Horn of Africa is not only affected by conflict and terrorism but is also vulnerable to the effects of climate change. They noted that the increased frequency and intensity of weather events, primarily droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones, are expected to lead to increased water stress, higher temperatures, desertification, decreased agricultural production, increased human and livestock diseases, livestock loss, and famine while sinking ground water levels and sea level rise cause salinization of land and water source and may pose threats to sea-side settlements. Consequently, they recognized that the number of displaced people is likely to increase, with climate change also exacerbating the potential for conflict associated with weakened resilience to natural hazards and competition over scarce resources such as water and grazing areas.
PROTECTION AND DISASTERS IN THE HORN OF AFRICA: NORMS AND PRACTICE FOR ADDRESSING CROSS-BORDER DISPLACEMENT IN DISASTER CONTEXTS
Tamara Wood, University of New South Wales
This report analyses the scope of regional and sub-regional law and policy frameworks relevant to addressing disasters and displacement in the Greater Horn of Africa. Taking the 2011 Horn of Africa drought and
famine as a case study, it assesses the capacity of these frameworks to address the needs of persons displaced across borders in the context of a disaster. This report has been prepared for the Nansen Initiative, a stateled, bottom-up consultative process intended to build consensus on the development of a protection agenda addressing the needs of people displaced across international borders in the context of disasters. In
particular, the research contained in this report contributed to and is informed by the Nansen Initiative’s Regional Consultation for the Horn of Africa.
DISASTERS, CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN MOBILITY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: CONSULTATION ON THE DRAFT PROTECTION AGENDA
South Africa Regional Consultation in cooperation with the Development
and Rule of Law Programme (DROP) at Stellenbosch University
This background paper informs the Nansen Initiative Southern Africa Consultation on “Disasters, Climate Change and Human Mobility in Southern Africa: Consultation on the Draft Protection Agenda,” taking place in Stellenbosch, South Africa, 4-5 June 2015, which aims to explore issues related to human mobility (displacement, migration and planned relocation) in the context of disasters and climate change in Southern Africa. The Consultation will also provide participants with an opportunity
to review and contribute to the Nansen Initiative’s draft Protection Agenda on cross-border displacement in the context of disasters and climate change.
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.