IOM Hosts Successful Workshop on Human Mobility & Climate Change in the OECS

Roseau – On 21-22 January 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) successfully held a two-day workshop on Climate Change and Human Mobility Data, in Dominica. The consultation was the first of a series of six national workshops that will be held across the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as part of a wider project: “Regional Dialogue to Address Human Mobility and Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean”.   

During the last few months, key stakeholders from the six independent OECS member states (Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines) have shared information with IOM experts at GMDAC.   These contributions have been used to analyse each country’s current policies and systems for managing and reporting on data related to movement of people because of environmental and climactic drivers, including as the result of natural disasters.  The information and the national consultations will also assist the IOM-GMDAC team to develop guidelines for the enhancement of such systems in the six beneficiary countries. 

Ms. Natasha Greaves, Head of Office, IOM Dominica, recognized the German government and the OECS Commission as critical partners in the Regional Dialogue on Human Mobility & Climate Change.  “The six national workshops will be followed by a higher-level regional dialogue (Time stamp 1:33) "We are going to be convening a regional dialogue with the governmental bodies maybe in May or June of this year, so that we can have a higher level conversation; we can have commitments from government(s) as to how do we use data to better manage our environmental and climate changes in the region.", she revealed.   Ms. Greaves pledged the ongoing support of IOM to the governments of the region, in-keeping with IOM’s work, which includes providing support to governments to effectively address the mobility dimensions of crises, and ensure that migration takes place in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.  interview with Natasha Greaves here (Credit: Dominica Government Information Service)   

Twenty participants attended the Dominica national workshop, which was held at the Office of Disaster Management (ODM).  Mr. Mandela Christian, Acting Officer-in-Charge at the ODM notes the connection between human mobility and disasters: (Time stamp 0:40) "Human mobility is an important component of emergency management.  In recent times, post (Tropical Storm) Erika for example, and in 2017 after  Hurricane Maria, we realized a trend in that a number of persons were displaced.   Some were displaced internally; in post-Erika an entire community had to be relocated; post-Maria a number of persons would have left Dominica to neighbouring countries seeking refuge.  As part of the OECS and CARICOM, Dominica may also need to respond to disasters when neighbouring countries are affected.   The workshop has been very useful in bringing stakeholders together, looking at best practices, and coming up with recommendations for good governance of these movements.  Proper data and evidence will go a long way in informing evacuation plans, to include the possibility of displacements of people moving outward or inward in response to disasters. interview with Mandela Christian provided here (Credit: Dominica Government Information Service)  

Since migration is a cross-cutting issue, affecting many sectors of governance, stakeholders at the consultation included representatives from Disaster Coordination, Immigration, Central Statistics, Economic & Social Planning, Local Government, Education, Labour and Foreign Affairs.  Participants indicated that the workshop was very useful to them, helping them to gain an understanding of the aspects of environmental migration in the event of disasters, the importance of capturing and sharing certain types of data, the roles of different sectors and the need for greater collaboration.  

In the coming weeks, the IOM-GMDAC team will continue national workshops engaging key stakeholders in each participating Member State to discuss the status of data collection and management regarding environmental migration and to identify good practices, and enhancements needed.  The project will then convene a conference at the OECS regional level to identify best practices, develop regional guidelines, and design a roadmap for enhanced cooperation.  Following this, a final publication will be prepared and disseminated identifying the needs highlighted through the process and proposing a road map to build capacities in better understanding, preventing, and addressing human mobility.  All the activities under this “Regional Dialogue to Address Human Mobility and Climate Change Adaptation in the Eastern Caribbean” project will enhance governments' capacities to collect, analyse and utilize data on human mobility and vulnerability derived from environmental change. The initiative will support efforts to integrate human mobility in climate change strategies and will enable the development of evidence-based policies that strengthen the human security of vulnerable populations.   


For more information on the project, IOM or its work contact IOM Dominica Communication Officer at (767) 275-3225 or via email at / 

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
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