France is Chair of the PDD. What is this tool?

France has chaired the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) since July 2019, following the respective chairmanships of Germany and Bangladesh. Its eighteen-month mandate will end in December 2020, after which Fiji, currently holding the Vice-Chairmanship, will take over.

The PDD, a state-led initiative

The PDD was launched in May 2016 at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. This initiative is led by seventeen States and the European Union, working together to provide better protection for people displaced across borders in the context of disasters and climate change. Thanks to its unique structure, the Platform has political leadership, recognized technical expertise, and acts together with a wide range of institutional, academic and NGO partners to promote political dialogue at the crossroads of several agendas:

  1. the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and, following it, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) ;
  2. the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework);
  3. the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and other outcomes of subsidiary bodies of UNFCCC, including the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM) and its Task Force on Displacement (TFD).

The PDD seeks to integrate the issue of displacement into each of these agendas while developing a nexus between the .

Many partnerships have been established between the PDD and international organisations, in particular with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Task Force on Displacement (TFD) established by the Conference of the Parties at its 21st session (COP21) in Paris.

Continuing the work of the Nansen Initiative

The PDD continues the work of the Nansen Initiative, launched in October 2012 in Geneva by Switzerland and Norway. This initiative aimed to develop an Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change (Protection Agenda) which was endorsed by 109 States. As a result of this initiative, Germany and Bangladesh launched the Platform in 2016, bringing together a number of States to implement the recommendations of the Protection Agenda. France committed itself to this issue in 2015, when COP21 was held in Paris and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change approved on 12 December 2015 by 195 delegations.

The PDD, through the Protection Agenda, provides States with a toolbox to address four strategic priorities:

  1. Support integrated implementation of global policy frameworks on human mobility, climate change action and disaster risk reduction that are relevant for disaster displaced persons;
  2. Promote policy and normative development to address gaps in the protection of persons at risk of displacement or displaced across borders;
  3. Facilitate exchange of knowledge and strengthen capacity at the national and regional levels to implement effective practices and instruments that can prevent, reduce and address disaster displacement;
  4. Strengthen evidence and data on disaster displacement and its impacts.

Encouraging action and spreading key messages

Displaced persons in the context of disasters do not benefit from a legal framework ensuring their protection, unlike for example, refugees fleeing a conflict situation.

There are two types of disasters that the PDD addresses: sudden-onset disaster and slow-onset disasters. Sudden-onset disasters comprise hydro-meteorological hazards such as flooding, windstorms or mudslides, and geophysical hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis or volcano eruptions. Slow-onset disasters relate to environmental degradation processes such as droughts and desertification, increased salinization, rising sea levels or thawing of permafrost.

Displacement in the context of disasters and climate change is likely to gain momentum in the coming years as global warming accelerates and the topic of community resilience becomes increasingly important.

The Platform’s action is all the more essential as it is difficult to obtain figures on displaced persons across national borders. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that in 2019, 1,900 disasters generated 24.9 million new displacements in 140 countries and territories worldwide. This number is about three times the number of conflict- and violence-related displacements.

PDD and its unique architecture

The Platform on Disaster Displacement is led by a Steering Group currently composed of seventeen States and the European Union. The Steering Group and its Chair and Vice-Chair provide overall strategic leadership and guidance on priorities, policy recommendations and advocacy. Steering Group members commit to being thematic or regional champions for specific aspects of the work of the PDD. The PDD is supported by a Group of Friends, co-chaired by Morocco and the European Union, which brings together interested States and regional organisations.

The PDD benefits from the technical expertise of the Envoy of the Chair, Professor Walter Kaelin, as well as an Advisory Committee, composed of representatives of international and regional organizations, research institutions, academia, private sector, non-governmental organizations and other civil society stakeholders. The PDD Secretariat, located in Geneva and hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), supports the development and implementation of the Platform’s activities. It also helps to maintain the network formed with the different actors in Geneva.

The main donors supporting the Platform are:

  1. Germany, which finances the PDD Secretariat and other PDD-related projects;
  2. The European Union, which is funding a project in the Pacific;
  3. Switzerland, involved in projects in East Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific;
  4. France, which is financing two projects in West Africa and the Sahel and the provision of two Junior Professional Officers (JPOs) for three years to IOM and UNHCR to support the work of the PDD.

What are the priorities for France, current Chair of the PDD?

During this mandate, in addition to supporting the PDD Work Plan, France is focusing on four priorities to strengthen the PDD process:

  1. Support the PDD strategy by strengthening partnerships with international organizations in the different international agendas on human mobility (migration and population displacement), climate and development issues;
  2. Mobilize States in the actions led by the PDD, within and beyond the PDD, notably through the PDD Group of Friends, co-chaired by Morocco and the European Union and through the organization of thematic meeting with heads of international organizations;
  3. Engage the PDD on regional issues, particularly the Sahel region, as Africa will be increasingly affected by the phenomenon of climate change-related displacement and better knowledge of the flows and the role of environmental factors in displacement is an essential first step in identifying solutions in this region;
  4. Mobilise development actors with a long-term vision in the framework of the humanitarian/development nexus, and seek funding under existing instruments, in order to improve knowledge on the subject, strengthen prevention, mitigation and adaptation, and act for the resilience of communities, in line with the humanitarian/development nexus.

Last updated on: 17 July 2020