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UN migration pact brings hope for people displaced by disasters and climate change

NRC|Published 10. Dec 2018
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) welcomes the Global Compact for Migration, which is set to be endorsed in Marrakesh today. “The compact recognises the rising threats of disaster displacement and impacts of climate change, and brings hope for the people affected,” argued Nina Birkeland, NRC’s Senior Adviser on Disaster Displacement and Climate Change.

“This is the first comprehensive UN document where the international community makes specific commitments to address natural hazards and climate change as drivers of cross-border displacement,” Birkeland added.

Still, the compact will only live up to its potential if states fulfil the 23 objectives they committed to and translate them into concrete steps to respond to the most pressing needs of disaster displaced people and other vulnerable migrants.

“We encourage governments to implement policies that help people at risk of displacement stay in their homes, help people affected by disasters move out of harm’s way, and better protect people forced to leave their homes due to disasters,” said Birkeland.

“States can for example enhance the availability and flexibility of regular migration pathways by devising mechanisms for humanitarian visa, temporary protection or planned relocation,“ she added.

The compact resulted from 18 months of consultations, involving UN and its member states and civil society organisations at every stage.

“When people cross borders, international cooperation is not only wanted, but required”, Birkeland said.

“The compact should be praised for inclusiveness in the process, and for promoting cooperation and positive narratives on migration. However, we regret that the formal review will only take place every four years, which we fear will not be sufficient to ensure necessary action,” said Birkeland.  

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