Platform on Disaster Displacement

A woman carrying a sack on her head wades through water up to her ankles towards a group of houses.
In the slums along the coast of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, rising sea levels increasingly force the inhabitants to leave their flooded homes. Copyright: © UNOPS

The Platform on Disaster Displacement in Geneva implements the Protection Agenda drawn up as part of the Nansen Initiative. The Nansen Initiative was launched jointly by Switzerland and Norway in 2012 and was concluded in 2015.

The Nansen Initiative sought to improve the protection of persons displaced across borders due to disasters and the negative impact of climate change. They are not recognised as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention. While general human rights provisions apply, gaps in protection mean that certain issues, such as entry and residence, are not covered. 

The Nansen Initiative sought to bridge these gaps by compiling a set of innovative approaches and best practices from the states concerned. One of its goals was to improve disaster preparedness in order to prevent such forced displacement and ensure better protection for those affected. The measures and best practices from a number of areas, such as disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and humanitarian aid, were subsequently incorporated into a Protection Agenda. A total of 109 states adopted it in Geneva in October 2015.