The programme includes the IDRC Davos 2016 agenda of sessions, plenary sessions, special panels and workshops. Click on the session title for more details.

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Session 07: Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Context of Major Risks and Prevention and Management
Monday, 29/Aug/2016:
1:30pm - 3:00pm

Session Chair: Mechthilde FUHRER, European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA)
Room: Sertig

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Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Context of Major Risks and Prevention and Management

Mechthilde FUHRER

European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA), France

Through its EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, the Council of Europe is promoting inclusive disaster risk reduction for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in its member States through the promotion of adequate policies, the sharing of expertise, the organisation of training programmes and the promotion of promising practices.

International population movements present a present and future challenge to the reduction of vulnerability. Disaster risk management policy and practice will have to adjust to the much greater mobility of people, and the increasingly complex relationship between risk and mobility. Many agencies seem to be responding to situations instead of anticipating them. Civil protection organisations need to take the specific needs of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees into account in their interventions.

The Resolution on “Ethical principles relating to disaster risk reduction and contributing to people’s resilience to disasters”, is the basis for the current EUR-OPA work programme on “Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the context of major risks prevention and management”. This project will be concluded by a Final Conference, organised in Lisbon on 14 October 2016. The results will be presented: a survey of current developments in Europe on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the context of major risks prevention and management, a compilation of promising practices, guidelines for action and a declaration with recommendations for action across Europe will be discussed; these documents will be formally adopted at the 13th Ministerial Session of the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement in Lisbon on 26 October 2016. Discussions at the Conference will focus on how to take forward initiatives in this field in order to improve the quality of services designed to support migrants, asylum seekers and refugees who are confronted with emergencies or disaster risk.

Migration is predominantly an urban issue, since towns and cities are the main destination for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The results of this project will be a contribution to The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees with Disabilities in the Context of Major Risks Prevention and Management

Jean-Luc SIMON

Disabled Peoples' International Europe, France

For the people with severe physical or mental restrictions due disabilities, diseases or the grand age, to emigrate from their living place after a disaster or to protect themselves from threats or to escape from war zones isn’t an option. A majority of them have no other choice than those of survive without their attendants, and It is easy to imagine that it is an actual reality for a lot of people with disabilities in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and in all the war zones as it was the case in the French psychiatric hospitals during the German occupation of World War II. For those ones, the only option is the end of the conflict and in the hands of the politicians.

In addition, because refugees from the war zones are in majority physically, emotionally, and mentally disabled due the traumas they lived, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities becomes a standard and needs to be known and systematically implemented.

With a living presentation of some portraits and of several experiences of individual supports for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with disabilities, we will emphasize the main barriers and benefits of their resettlement in a new country.

About: Disabled Peoples International (DPI) is a Human rights organization committed to the protection of the rights of people with disabilities and the promotion of their full and equal participation in society. Established in 1981, DPI is represented through active membership of national organizations of disabled people in over 130 countries.

Migrants in Disasters, Specific Conditions of Vulnerability


International Organization for Migration, Switzerland


Linkages in Disasters: A Perspective on Migrants Inclusivity in Disaster Risk Reduction

Lisette Robles ROBLES, Tomohiro ICHINOSE

Keio University, Japan

Recent researches observed that certain groups in society are more prone than others to damages, losses, and sufferings in the context of hazards. Migrants are among the vulnerable populations during disasters. Over the changing times and evolving mobility of people, migrants emerge as a significant consideration in the area of disaster risk reduction. The 3rd UNISDR World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai City, acknowledged migrants as essential stakeholders in reducing disaster risks. This paper particularly explores and analyses the migrants’ social capital in facing and recovering from disasters. It primarily assumes that the available forms of connections (bonding, bridging and linking) inherent to migrants had a substantial contribution to their disaster response and recovery. The paper assessed the various forms of linkages available to migrants during disasters, focusing on the case of foreign residents during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Using combined detailed interviews and discussions, literature reviews and examinations of prefectural capital websites, the study conclude that: (1) Linking social capital functions as agents of distributive and procedural justice, and (2) Migrant inclusivity should not be limited to disaster mitigation and response but should include pre-disaster community involvement. This study reflects on the significance and challenges of enhancing migrants’ social capital to facilitate more inclusive disaster risk reduction programs.

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