Brasilia, Brazil, 27-28 July 2023 – Representatives from the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR – commonly known by its Spanish abbreviation) Member States and Associate States gathered in Brasilia for a regional workshop on disaster displacement. They exchanged perspectives on the main challenges and opportunities to improve their institutional capacity to respond to disaster displacement.
South America is highly climate-vulnerable. Due to its size and diversity, the region faces multiple and complex displacement challenges in relation to disasters and the adverse effects of climate change. In 2022 alone, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) recorded 2.6 million new internal displacements due to disasters in South America, mainly connected to storms and floods.
“Environmental and climatic factors lead to human mobility, which is why we chose this as a central issue for our discussions” said Ms. Tatyana Friedrich, Brazil’s Director of the Migration Department at the National Ministry of Justice and Public Security (Demig). “With Brazil assuming the Pro-tempore Presidency of MERCOSUR we could not start this phase of work without debating this important topic from a regional perspective.”
This workshop, hosted by the Government of Brazil, sought to strengthen institutional capacities, promote international cooperation, and discuss a proposal submitted by Argentina to develop a regional agreement on cross-border displacement in the event of massive and/or abrupt entry of displaced persons due to a sudden-onset disaster.
“For us, it is essential to adopt a systemic approach to the issue, involving all member countries, the various ministries and government instances in each country, the different levels – federal, state, municipal and local -, civil society, including affected communities, and regional and international organizations.” explained Ms. Tatyana Friedrich.
Government delegates representing immigration departments, ministries of foreign affairs and disaster risk reduction agencies from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Peru and Paraguay attended the workshop. They shared their respective country contexts and exchanged about recent developments regarding the inclusion of disasters and climate change into immigration norms and other relevant practices.
Concluding the workshop, MERCOSUR Member States and Associate States decided to move ahead with a draft regional agreement during 2023, for approval by Heads of MERCOSUR in the coming months.
MERCOSUR is the Southern Common Market, a regional integration process in South America established to promote a common space generating business and investment opportunities through the competitive integration of national economies into the international market. The workshop is part of the 2023-2024 Workplan of MERCOSUR’s Specialized Forum on Migration (FEM).
The event was organized by the Government of Brazil as Chair of MERCOSUR. Brazil and Argentina are members of the Steering Group of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD).