Haiti, Dominican Republic Address Migration, Environment and Climate Change Policy

A European Union (EU)-funded three-day IOM training workshop on migration, environment and climate change policy ended today (10/7) in Haiti.

Some 25 participants from Haitian ministries, universities and civil society attended the event, which was designed to build the capacity of experts and practitioners to integrate migration and environment into policy-making.

The workshop precedes the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21, which will take place in Paris in December this year. The Convention will address integration of human mobility into the expected Paris Agreement.

The event also coincided with Haiti’s finalization of its national migration policy. Haiti is the first country in the region to integrate environment and climate change in its migration policy and to mainstream migration into its position on climate change negotiations.

Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Haiti Javier Niño Pérez, speaking at the meeting, said: “We know that Haiti is particularly vulnerable to climate change and needs to increase its ability to anticipate and manage the effects of climate change, while integrating the associated migration risks. As a major partner, the EU is actively supporting this national and international mobilization, implementing a number of projects to protect the environment and mitigate the impact of climate change.”

“I hope this training will place Haiti at the forefront as a regional leader in the area of migration, environment and climate change. With the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters posing a greater risk of displacement in Haiti and other countries around the world, there is no time to lose,” said IOM Haiti Chief of Mission Gregoire Goodstein.

The initiative is part of IOM’s Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECLEP) project funded by the EU and with financial support from the IOM Development Fund. Haiti and the Dominican Republic are among the six countries where the project is being piloted, together with Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam.

The project is implemented by IOM through a consortium of six research partners, including the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Security (UNU-EHS) and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), which are advising on Haiti and the Dominican Republic respectively.

While the number of studies exploring the link between environment and migration has proliferated in recent years, consideration of the migration-environment nexus at the policy level is still at an early stage.

The MECLEP programme intends to fill this important gap by providing reliable data and policy-oriented research which reflect the needs of policymakers.

During the Haiti workshop, a Training Manual on Migration, Environment and Climate Change specifically developed for the MECLEP project was tested and validated. The manual is a facilitator’s guide providing a step-by-step roadmap on how to integrate human mobility into environmental policies, climate change and adaptation strategies. Its standardized but adaptable curriculum, which integrates group discussions and exercises, is based on state-of-the-art migration and environment knowledge and practices.

This participatory training tool will be available in several languages to respond to the global demand for trained experts. IOM has conducted three regional training workshops and one national workshop on this topic since 2013. The manual will allow IOM to deliver regular workshops at the request of Member States.

A second policy workshop on the same topic will take place in the Dominican Republic on 13-15 July. “In the Dominican Republic, some critical steps in addressing the link between migration and environmental change have already been taken,” said Cy Winter, IOM Dominican Republic Chief of Mission. “I look forward to welcoming the participants of this training next week, which will represent one further step in that direction.”

For further information please contact Ilaria Lanzoni at IOM Haiti, Tel: +509 370 250 66, Email: ilanzoni@iom.int Or, for information on MECLEP, Susanne Melde, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 701 09 90, Email: smelde@iom.int.