The World Disaster Report 2012 presents facts and figures about the consequences of disasters on humans and society. The 2012 report highlighted the topic of forced migration. Professor Roger Zetter, editor of the report, presented some of the results. The report was welcomed by Ambassador Pedersen as broad and encompassing, addressing a wide range of topics on forced displacement. The report has a broader definition of forced migration including migration caused of disasters, violence, conflicts, climatic change and development projects. It underlines the complexity of what are forcing people into migration. Among them 46 percent are children under 18 years of age.
“In order to act responsible, we must ensure that our responses are guided by the fundamental principles of humanity, human dignity, human rights and international cooperation”, Ambassador Pedersen stated in his opening remarks.
Ms. Michelle Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer to the UN, International Organization for Migration, pointed out that climate change as a cause of migration is not new, but that it will continue to be a significant issue in the future. Professor Zetter also stated that climate change will displace millions of people in the coming years.
The panelists emphasized that it is important to minimize the negative economic impacts and costs when thinking about refugees, and rather maximize the positive and productive opportunities. It is a need for development strategies about the long time possibilities that the migrants represent. The development the last decades has been that forced migration has been urbanized, something that brings further challenges to the international society in dealing with these issues.
The Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN co-hosted the debate along with the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The panel consisted of Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN, Ambassador Abdul Momen, Mr. Roger Zetter, Professor of Refugee Studies at the University of Oxford, Mr. Alastair Ager, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health at Columbia University, Ms. Michelle Klein Solomon Permanent Observer to the UN, and Ms.Joelle Tanguy from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.