Labour migration

High-level Dialogue on the New Regional Framework on Climate Mobility concludes

The regional dialogue was facilitated through the PCCMHS programme led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) alongside the International Labour Organization (ILO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The joint-agency PCCMHS programme is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the New Zealand Aid Programme.

News | 24 June 2022
Participants at the regional dialogue event in Nadi, Fiji.
NADI, Fiji (ILO News) – Over 100 non-State and State actors from the Pacific recently attended a week-long Regional Dialogue on Climate Mobility (20-23 June) that was facilitated through the joint-agency Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) programme.

The meeting comprised two back-to-back segments that first brought together 70 non-state actors from 20-21 June 2022, as well as 27 high-level and technical representatives from Pacific governments in-person and virtually from across the Pacific from 22-23 June 2022. All participants reviewed and provided inputs to the draft Pacific Regional Framework on Climate Mobility.

“The Pacific Regional Framework on Climate Mobility aims to guide governments in addressing these very specific legal, policy and practical issues that arise, particularly in respect to our four main types of climate mobility: displacement, migration, evacuations and planned relocation” emphasized the Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama. “The benefit of developing a framework, one that is by and for the Pacific, is that we allow space for complete self-determination” the Prime Minister added.

Leaving no-one behind

Civil society and private sector representatives highlighted the importance of creating an inclusive Regional Framework that will safeguard the culture, heritage and human rights of individuals and communities affected by climate change. Their active participation helped to ensure that the experiences and voices of women and girls, people with disabilities, the LGBTIQ+ community, youth and the elderly, religious groups and migrants were addressed in the Framework.

ILO Pacific staff at the regional dialogue event in Nadi, Fiji.
ILO constituents – worker and employer representatives - were also present in the 2-day non-state actor sessions in-person and virtually. Worker and employer feedback centred around labour and labour mobility considerations relevant to the framework and the importance of social dialogue.

Reverend James Bhagwan from the Pacific Conference of Churches presented a summary of the non-state actor discussions to the Member States, reiterating that “the document should not be prescriptive but should provide tools for action that consider the different stages each country is at in this process. This should be balanced with the recognition of states’ ongoing commitments to global and international law.” He added, “this Framework is not just for states; it has the potential to be something that all partners and agencies will engage with, whereby we can mobilise better synergies and harmony across multiple scales”.

Member States present their views on how to improve the Framework

On 22-23 June, Member States suggested amendments to the document and consider how the Regional Framework will be reflected in national policies and action plans. This segment was attended by representatives from 16 Pacific Island countries, including Nauru, Niue, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. Government officials from 9 countries across the Pacific also joined virtually from satellite hubs.

Member States highlighted the need to address the impacts of internal displacement and noted that relocation should always be a last resort. Participants called for the draft Regional Framework to be flexible and adaptable, appreciating the diversity of approaches to climate mobility.

The Regional Dialogue provided an opportunity for Pacific government leaders, civil society and PCCMHS programme partners to renew their longstanding commitment to addressing climate-related mobility. This event reaffirmed the need for continued dialogue toward finalizing the draft Regional Framework through the guidance of the joint working group on climate mobility co-chaired by the Governments of Fiji and Tuvalu.