Photo: UN Photo/UNICEF/Marco Dormino .Photo: UN Photo/UNICEF/Marco Dormino

Better protection of the world’s environmentally displaced

Last updated: 6/20/2011 // “Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes because of climate-related natural disasters. We have a collective responsibility to address this challenge,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Last week Foreign Minister Støre launched the idea of establishing a set of Nansen principles to improve protection of the world’s environmentally displaced. Every day people are driven from their homes because of drought, heat waves, torrential rains and floods. They are forced to flee, but do not have refugee status.

“There is every indication that these challenges will be exacerbated in future by climate change,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

“We must enhance the protection and rights of the environmentally displaced. This is why we are calling on the international community to endorse new principles – the Nansen principles – for assisting the many millions who are forced to flee because of climate change. Our response to climate-related displacement should be based on knowledge, human rights and prevention, in the spirit of Fridtjof Nansen,” said Mr Støre.

The idea of the Nansen principles was launched at the Nansen Conference, an international high-level conference on climate change and displacement, being held in Oslo on 6–7 June. The conference, which is the Government’s most important contribution to the celebration of Nansen as a humanist during the Nansen-Amundsen anniversary, was opened today by Foreign Minister Støre and Minister of the Environment and International Development Solheim. It brings together more than 200 researchers, politicians and officials who are concerned about climate change and its humanitarian consequences in the form of forced migration.


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