Home Lands – Summary of launching event of new Study on Climate Change and Human Mobility

Destroyed houses

Photo © GIZ / Horst Vogel

On September 4th, 2020, the ‘Global Programme Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change’ (GP HMCCC) hosted the launch of the newly published study “Home Lands – Island and Archipelagic States’ Policymaking for Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change”. The GP HMCCC is financed by the ‘German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation’ (BMZ) and implemented by the ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’ (GIZ).

After warmly welcoming the high-level panel and over 100 participants, Dr Dorothea Rischewski, head of the GP HMCCC and moderator of the launch, gave the floor to Dr Heike Henn, Director for Climate policy, Energy, Urban Development and Environment (ad interim) and Commissioner for climate policy and climate financing at the BMZ. She shared her views on climate-change as an accelerator of human mobility dynamics, and praised the Home Lands study for filling large data gaps, a contribution that strongly benefits stakeholders in shaping more pertinent responses to disaster displacement. The presentation of Dr Kira Vinke, author of the Home Lands study and researcher at the ‘Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research’ (PIK), outlined the results and methodology of the study and provided the audience with concrete examples of the increasing effects of climate change and their relation to human mobility in the Pacific, the Eastern Caribbean and the Philippines. She provided thereby entry points how to address HMCCC on the policy level in each region.

The following panel discussion allowed representatives from BMZ, GIZ and PIK, the Commission of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as well as the Philippines’ ‘Commission on Population and Development’ (POPCOM) to add on the previous statements and to reply to questions from the audience. PIK director Prof. Dr Johan Rockström argued from a scientific perspective, that the pace of climate change is still underestimated in today’s policymaking, also in light of the likely increase of disaster induced displacements. Dr Elke Siehl, Director General of the department ‘Sector and Global programmes’ at GIZ in Bonn, shed light on the growing importance of HMCCC in the agency’s portfolio. She also emphasised the strength and unique feature of the GP HMCCC’s approach of combining the accompaniment and advisory of international processes with the cooperation with partners in strongly affected regions. Concerning the regional partners, both Dr Juan Antonio Perez, Undersecretary for population and development and Executive of the ‘Commission on Population and Development’ (POPCOM), and Crispin d’Auvergne, Programme Director for Climate and Disaster Resilience at the Commission of the ‘Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ (OECS), insisted on the need for better (regional and national) coordination and more encompassing collection of data in order to strengthen resilience and capacities of hazard exposed areas. Dr Perez gave furthermore valuable insights into current operative research projects on human mobility such as household surveys in the Philippines in cooperation with GIZ’s GP HMCCC. Finally, Crispin d’Auvergne described his organisations’ work on raising awareness and providing capacity-building for the most vulnerable communities.
A short video on relocations in the community of Narikoso, Fiji, showed the audience that rising sea levels are not an abstract phenomenon but an actual problem for communities in the Pacific region who are forced to relocate to higher grounds.

The very fruitful discussion was concluded with some final remarks by the moderator, who acknowledged the panellists’ insightful contributions from academia, policy making and the implementation in the field and expressed her gratitude for the active participation of the audience.

The full report ‘Home Lands – Island and Archipelagic States’ Policymaking for Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change’ is available for download here. An executive summary can be accessed here.

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