Vanuatu launches national policy on climate change and disaster-induced displacement
Vanuatu this week (26 September) launched a National Policy on Climate Change and Disaster-Induced Displacement with support from the IOM Development Fund (IDF).
Sudden and slow-onset disasters are increasing features of life in the Pacific island nation. In the last two months alone, 11,000 people have been displaced from Ambae island due to an eruption of its Manaro volcano, triggering a whole-of-government response to meet their needs and the needs of the neighbouring island communities now supporting them.
As the cyclone season approaches – and many families remain displaced – the importance of a coordinated response, with national standards related to displacement, that is outlined in the new policy is even more pronounced, according to Vanuatu Minister of Climate Change Adaptation Ham Lini Vanuaroroa.
“This policy is…a national roadmap towards mitigating challenges that have and will arise, but with strategic focus and clear plans,” he said. “By focusing on systems level areas such as institutions and governance – as well as sectoral areas such as housing, education and nutrition – the policy has the potential…to guide us as and when disaster strikes. We can prepare, plan, and respond to the short term and longer term needs of displacement.”
The development of the policy was supported by the IDF through a project entitled Development of a National Framework for Durable Solutions in Vanuatu.
IOM worked with Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office and Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation in a participatory process to develop the policy, based on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which this year marks their 20th anniversary.
“IOM, as the UN Migration Agency, is committed to helping governments build capacity and ensure that displaced people and affected communities are protected from and are resilient to the impacts of natural disasters,” said IOM Australia Chief of Mission Pär Liljert, who coordinates the work of IOM missions in the South Pacific.
“IOM will continue to provide technical assistance to the Vanuatu government to implement the policy,” he added.
The launch in Port Vila was attended by representatives of the government, donor countries, local and international NGOs, UN agencies, academia and media.