Research Project Begins on Displacement in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change


The Raoul Wallenberg Institute has launched a ten-country research initiative studying displacement in the context of disasters and climate change from a human rights perspective. RWI Researcher Matthew Scott has written a short blog post to explain the work.

“Following on from a series of consultations with international organisations and national human rights institutes in Thailand and Malaysia in October this year, I will now travel to Indonesia to coordinate a writers’ workshop launching the second phase of a ten-country research initiative studying displacement in the context of disasters and climate change, from a human rights-based approach. The ten countries include Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

“The research initiative came about in recognition that the Asia Pacific is a hotspot of displacement, representing 83% of all people displaced internally in the context of sudden onset disasters in 2016.

“Notwithstanding the fact that millions of people are displaced every year, regional and national disaster risk management and climate change adaptation laws and policies tend not to focus on this reality. Further, international guidelines, including those specific to displacement, such as the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, do not appear to guide planning and response.

“We have now assembled a highly-qualified group of academic partners working in universities across the region, many of who have prior affiliation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute as a result of participation in our blended learning initiative on environment and human rights as well as other activities the Institute has been involved in over the years.

“These partners will convene in Jakarta for a two day workshop from 14-15 December to discuss preliminary approaches to the research, including describing case studies for each country and deciding upon a uniform research methodology. In the year that follows, academic partners will together produce an edited volume reflecting law, policy and practice on disaster displacement in each of the ten countries selected for the study. Other publications, roundtables and symposia are also planned over the course of 2018-2019.

“After the December workshop, I will travel to Bangkok to participate in the inaugural roundtable on disaster displacement in Asia Pacific, convened by the Stockholm Environment Institute. This roundtable, together with ongoing networking initiatives, represents the significant steps RWI is taking to promote and develop an ambitious, consultative and policy-relevant approach to one of the pressing human rights issues in the region.”