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PIDF call for global CSO declaration on migration

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Update: 3:40PM TWO days after United States President Donald Trump's announcement to pull out of the United Nations Global Compact on migration, an international gathering of civil society organisations taking place this week in Suva is working towards a global consensus on a declaration to champion at the same meeting.

The head of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, Francois Martel, called on the more than 700 people present in Suva at the International Civil Society Week to come to a consensus on a position on climate-induced migration.

The PIDF brought together agencies leading the work to strengthen loss and damage as a United Nations Climate Change (UNFCCC) agenda.

Paying homage to work done by civil society in the past five years and even as far back as COP16 when loss and damage were first introduced into the UNFCCC framework, Mr Martel acknowledged the experience of Pacific Islands agencies working in climate-induced migration.

"I trust your discussions today will bring a consensus on a Global Civil Society declaration that can be championed at the Global Compact on Migration next year, overall this is an issue of climate justice and one that resonates strongly throughout the Pacific Islands," he said.

Oxfam Pacific is a leading agency in the push to include loss and damage to global climate change agreements.

Oxfam head Raijeli Nicole said the draft declaration needed to be refined so climate change as a driver for migration was clearly reflected.

"Displacement and relocation, rising sea levels are realities of today and that's what needs to come into this draft declaration," Ms Nicole said.

Oxfam is also pushing for recognition of nuclear-induced migration within the draft declaration.

In 2016, the UN General Assembly unanimously agreed to a political declaration now called the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants which upholds the rights of refugees.

Meanwhile, through a message from its mission to the United Nations, the US said the declaration "contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with U.S. immigration and refugee policies and the Trump Administration's immigration principles".

The global compact for migration was to have been the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to address international migration comprehensively.

The UN General Assembly will host an inter-governmental conference on international migration in 2018 to adopting the global compact on migration.

Meanwhile, the government's climate change unit reported at the same event that approximately 40 communities in Fiji were identified for relocation.

The unit's Alisi Vosalevu said the relocation of communities was the last resort for climate change adaptation.

"Proper assessment of the socio-economic dynamics of these 40 or so communities is critical. The increasing number of communities that may need to be relocated in the next five to 10 years has prompted the Government to develop a relocation guideline that will ensure sustainable relocation practices for the protection and empowerment of those affected," Ms Vosalevu said.

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