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South-East Asia is one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to natural hazards and experiences numerous disasters annually. The region is exposed to a wide variety of natural hazards that can trigger population movements, including typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanos, floods, droughts and landslides. It is also increasingly facing the negative impact of climate change through rising sea levels and changing rainfall variability that threaten human settlements, infrastructure, natural resources and associated livelihoods. Over four million people were internally displaced due to disasters in South-East Asia in 2011, yet in some years that figure has been even higher due to the onset of a megadisaster or multiple large disasters. For example, over four million people were displaced by the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, 1.6 million people were displaced in Myanmar by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, more than 1.5 million people were displaced in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam due to flooding in 2011, and, most recently, over four million people were displaced in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. The number of people displaced across international borders is not known.

Southeast Asia Regional Civil Society Meeting

THAILAND / Hmong refugees / Surin camp / UNHCR / D. Laye / 1978

This background paper informs the Nansen Initiative The Southeast Asian Civil Society meeting in Bangkok, Thailand from 30 June to 1 July 2014, which will explore the issue of human mobility (displacement, migration and planned relocation) in the context of disasters and climate change in the Southeast Asia. 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 feed the Nansen Initiative process with practical experiences and build consensus, inter-governmental Regional Consultations and Civil Society Meetings are taking place in the Pacific, Central America, the Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia over the course of 2013 to 2015.

The Nansen Initiative Civil Society Meeting “Disasters and Displacement in Southeast Asia” brought together some 40 participants from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam to discuss the issue of displacement, disasters and climate change in Southeast Asia. The Nansen Initiative was pleased to jointly organize the meeting with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), and is grateful for the generous funding for the event from the MacArthur Foundation.

The overall purpose of the Southeast Asian Civil Society meeting was to develop a better understanding of the displacement and migration dynamics linked to natural hazards in Southeast Asia, identify key protection concerns, and assess the relevance of existing legal frameworks
to address these challenges.

CLUSTERS AND HUBS: TOWARD A REGIONAL ARCHITECTURE FOR VOLUNTARY ADAPTIVE MIGRATION IN THE PACIFIC

Bruce Burson and Richard Bedford

Pacific peoples have had to contend with and adapt to a multiplicity of disruptive and destructive geological and extreme weather events for centuries. While temporary internal migration and displacement have featured as a response to the events in many instances, the current concern about the effects of climate change in the region has generated discussion about the extent to which future disasters or slow‑onset environmental degradation will lead to increased cross‑border mobility or displacement. This research was commissioned to follow up on recommendations from the Nansen Initiative’s Pacific Regional Consultation held in May 2013 which concluded that, while having to leave one’s country was the least preferred option for Pacific peoples, cross‑border mobility in the context of natural disasters and environmental degradation was a reality in the Pacific region which demanded that states begin to plan for movement now. It was recognized that voluntary migration abroad was only one way, within a set of broader policy options, to prevent future displacement and adapt to climate change.

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

Prof. Daniel Fitzpatrick, ANU College of Law, Australian National University

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

Mariko Yoshida

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.

Photos of the Civil Society Meeting
See also
Southeast Asia Intergovernmental Consultation

Southeast Asia Intergovernmental Consultation

Useful links
Video Summary of the Intergovernmental 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