Planned Relocation Cases in the Context of Hazards, Disasters, and Climate Change

The report “Leaving Place, Restoring Home: Enhancing the Evidence Base on Planned Relocation Cases in the Context of Hazards, Disasters, and Climate Change“ provides preliminary findings on planned relocation cases around the world and insight into their possible implications. Available since 31 March, it is based on 308 planned relocation cases and an in-depth analysis of 34 identified cases.

The multiple dimensions of planned relocations

The study identifies more than 300 cases of planned relocations, most often caused by floods, tsunamis, erosion, sea level rise, etc., in over 60 countries and territories. Commissioned jointly by the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney, the report highlights the following findings, among others:

• Many cases of planned relocation occur in contexts of multiple hazards, with combined damage or risks ultimately leading to the need for relocation.

• The decision to undertake planned relocation may have an environmental, but also a social, political, economic and demographic context.

• Literature on planned relocation generally describes two types of situations: before a hazard event, in anticipation of future risks (’proactive’) and/or after a hazard event, in response to damage (’reactive’). However, this report shows that the reality on the ground more often reflects a continuum between "proactive" and "reactive" relocation. Most cases of planned resettlement identified take place in a context of multiple hazards, both in response to actual damage (displacement, loss of livelihoods, property damage, etc.) and in anticipation of the risks associated with future hazards.

• The study identifies four patterns, demonstrating that cases of planned relocation do not follow a single pattern. This report uses a typology with four distinct models: cases involving a single origin to a single destination site (type A); cases involving multiple origins to a single destination (type B); cases involving a single origin to multiple destinations (type C); and cases involving multiple origins to multiple destinations (type D). Most planned relocation cases involve a single origin to a single destination site (type A).

A first step to guide public policies

This study, and its considerable database, provides a first support to encourage future research, analysis and comparison. The report provides preliminary findings on planned relocation cases around the world, as well as an overview of their possible implications. However, continuing efforts to monitor and research planned relocation are needed to guide policy and practice that minimizes risks and harms, and protects the human rights, security and dignity of people.

Nonetheless, leaving Place, Restoring Home aims to provide and promote initial policy approaches to mitigate risks and better protect people from harm. For example, theorising a ’proactive/reactive’ continuum to better explain planned relocation may be useful for policy makers, politicians and practitioners. Similarly, the distinction made between four models of planned relocation, and the inclusion of sudden-onset and slow-onset disasters in the triggers for these processes, highlight the importance of better understanding the unique dimensions of various models in order to respond more effectively in terms of public policy.

French position on planned resettlement

France, as former chair and current vice-chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), encourages the wide dissemination of this report, which broadens academic knowledge on the complex subject of planned relocation. France also takes advantage of the publication of the report Leaving Place, Restoring Home to encourage the member states of the PDD to seize this study and to apply in an integrated way the different global agendas (Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework, Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda).

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Last updated on: 26 April 2021